Though often referred to as one of the oldest professions in history, intelligence has, in more recent years, gained an increasing amount of attention. Despite its imperative role in the 20th century, intelligence today has become an even more crucial factor in the detection and assessment of global threats that transcend national boundaries and in the effective conduct of foreign policy. The transnational nature of today' s security challenges has not only accentuated the essential role of intelligence, but has also required national governments to increase the quantity and quality of cross-agency intelligence sharing amongst them.
This is particularly true for the European Union, which lies at the heart of developing common foreign, security and defense policies. The desire of Member States to support European security strategy and effectively coordinate a vast range of security tools resulted in the gradual establishment of an intelligence structure within the EU-framework designed to encourage joint threat assessment and production and exchange of intelligence. To this end, four EU agencies, whose principal mandates are to enhance intelligence cooperation amongst Member States, have thus far been established?
Generally speaking, whereas national governments have been keen to support the exchange of information and intelligence sharing amongst them, European intelligence cooperation practices have remained outside the framework of the EU. Although recent developments point to increased and improved intelligence sharing amongst Member States through the EU and its centralized institutions, the overwhelming majority of cross-agency cooperation continues to take place on a purely horizontal and decentralized basis through bilateral and multilateral informal networks.
It is often argued within European law enforcement circles and by an extensive number of experts and professionals that the current configuration of the European intelligence structure cannot support the intelligence requirements of the ambitious political and security goals of the European Union. Many observers, indeed, are inclined to think that the centralization of European intelligence would increase the security of Member States and hence, call for the creation of a European CIA.
The purpose of this study is to evaluate the advantages of the proposed establishment of a central European intelligence agency. In other words, would shifting away from national intelligence to European intelligence encourage the exchange of information among Member States and assist them in dealing with current security challenges? Or, on the contrary, can it be said that informal decentralized bilateral and multilateral arrangements are more efficient and, hence, sufficiently adept to meet the security and intelligence requirements of the European Union? Following this idea, and in order to assess which solution would most benefit the European Union and its security objectives, it has been decided that, among other considerations, this study will analyze both options from the angle of efficiency.
The foundation of this paper touches upon the theoretical confrontation present in every European debate regarding the conflict of two approaches about the future integration of the Union: a supranational approach versus an intergovernmental one. Despite current trends towards the supranational solution and the centralization of intelligence within the EU, the author has adopted a moderate realist position and recommends the intergovernmental approach as a medium-term strategy to encourage intelligence sharing among smaller groups of Member States.
Through a case study encompassing France and Spain and the outcome of bilateral cooperation between the two countries in dealing with the common threat of separatist terrorism, this study argues and reaches the conclusion that a European intelligence agency cannot relieve national governments from their responsibilities. Instead, this paper defends the position that the European Union does not need a new agency and that minor adjustments of existing institutions coupled with increased informal decentralized cooperation will suffice to satisfy the security and intelligence requirements of the European Union.
KeyWords: Centralization of intelligence; European Union (EU); Intelligence sharing; Bilateral cooperation; Supranational versus intergovernmental approach
|School:||The American University of Paris (France)|
|Source:||MAI 56/02M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||European Studies, International Relations|
|Keywords:||Bilateral cooperation, European Union, Intelligence sharing|
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