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Ilkka Salmi

Multilateral intelligence cooperation in the Eu

In 1998 Alessandro Politi wrote a rather fervent article in the predecessor of this journal on the need to set up a European intelligence policy. Today, more than 15 years later, it is time to return to his ideas and have a look on the developments since. This paper will begin by briefly going through the history of European intelligence cooperation, driven by the European political cooperation since the 1970s, and concentrate on how this has been reflected in the development of Eu Intelligence Analysis Centre (Eu IntCen). After that, a chapter will be dedicated on the current role and functions of Eu IntCen in the wider Eu framework. Conclusion will be a short comparison with Politi's thinking 15 years ago and, respectively, a glance towards the future of European intelligence exchange.

Expansion of Eu responsibilities fostering intelligence cooperation

Information and intelligence exchange between the European Union Member States started emerging alongside the European Political Cooperation in the 1970s (1). It developed gradually from informal consultations into Treaty provisions in the Single European Act in 1987 (2). As others have thoroughly studied the emergence of the European culture of information exchange in foreign policy matters (3), in the following I will first briefly summarise the history of EU Intelligence Analysis Centre and then concentrate on how I see the latest developments in multilateral intelligence cooperation in the European Union.
Two decades ago, the seed for what is today's EU INTCEN was planted in the Western European Union (WEU) in 1995, when the first officers started working in the WEU Planning Cell's Intelligence Section and the Situation Centre of the Secretariat. The Intelligence Section had in principle the same modus operandi as EU INTCEN does today: it received finished, classified intelligence products from Member States and composed a synthesised analysis for the Council and other competent WEU bodies. Like Frédéric Oberson observes, this was the first time that there was a permanent location where Europeans could cooperate on intelligence (4). The Situation Centre worked on the basis of open source information only, but in close cooperation with the Intelligence Section to verify the used sources.
The wars in Iraq and in the Balkans in the 1990s ultimately convinced the European leaders of the need to reinforce the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) structures with intelligence components. As I see it, the St. Malo Declaration was a fundamental corner stone in building the cooperation of today: "…the Union must be given appropriate structures and a capacity for analysis of situations, sources of intelligence, and a capability for relevant strategic planning, without unnecessary duplication, taking account of the existing assets of the WEU and the evolution of its relations with the Eu..." (5)
The effective creation of the predecessor of Eu IntCen was intimately linked to the establishment of the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) and the creation of the post of High Representative in 1999 (6). The development of the ESDP crisis management capabilities, and deployment of both civilian and military missions, made it clear that a broader intelligence analysis structure was needed. The Amsterdam Treaty also created the legal framework for intelligence sharing, stating that the "Member States and the Commission shall assist the policy planning process by providing, to the fullest extent possible, relevant information, including confidential information" (7).
Javier Solana as the first EU High Representative included a small task force called Situation Centre in his Policy Planning and Early Warning Unit to ensure that (classified) diplomatic reporting reached the SG/HR and to prepare news briefs on the basis of international media. During the first two years, the multilateral cooperation for support to the High Representative remained at the diplomatic level. Soon, however, the events of 11 September 2001, and the increasing threats of global terrorism re-emphasised the need for timely and accurate intelligence analysis to support EU policy making. Therefore, in 2002, an "additional assessment capability", developed on the basis of the experience in setting up the WEU Situation Centre (8), was established to enhance the use of sensitive intelligence sources (9). This capability, named as EU Joint Situation Centre (EU SITCEN), was separated from the Policy Unit and directly attached to the office of the High Representative, with William Shapcott as its first director. The same year, a small number of staff from Member States' Intelligence Services was seconded to the centre.
Initially EU SITCEN was mandated mainly to follow and assess the situation outside the EU. However, after the Madrid bombings in 2004 the clear-cut distinction between internal and external security became more and more difficult to maintain. Hence in 2005, EU SITCEN – as it was called by then – was reinforced by the arrival of a team of national experts seconded from Member States’ Security Services. In addition, a close cooperation with the Counter Terrorism Group (CTG) was initiated. This significant move has enabled EU SITCEN to provide its customers with strategic terrorism threat assessments based on intelligence from national services.
Finally, with the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty on 1 December 2009, EU SITCEN came under the authority of the new High Representative, Catherine Ashton.

EU INTCEN in the EEAS – structured intelligence support

The Treaty of Lisbon, entered into force on 1 December 2009, intends to further deepen the cooperation of the EU Member States in the field of the Common Foreign and Security Policy. It incorporates all the developments of CFSP since the 1999 Cologne European Council and creates several new provisions that intensify the role of the EU as a common, all-European actor in security: a mutual assistance clause, a solidarity clause, extension of the Petersberg tasks and the creation of the European External Action Service (EEAS) to name a few.
It is evident that strengthening CFSP also involves the strengthening of the intelligence support to it. To that end, EU SITCEN was transferred into the EEAS in the beginning of 2011 (10). In the context of the creation of the EEAS SITCEN also went through certain restructuring, which allowed for a better concentration on the unique role that the directorate has (11). The renaming of SITCEN to EU INTCEN in 2012 reflected these organisational and functional changes.
In the EEAS, EU INTCEN's mission is to provide intelligence analysis and situational awareness to the High Representative and to the EEAS. We also offer our services to the various EU decision making bodies in the fields of CFSP and Counter Terrorism, as well as to the Member States via the ambassadors for the Political and Security Committee. In addition, we support and assist the President of the European Council and the President of the Commission in their respective functions in the area of external relations. Our focus is mainly on the foreign policy interests of the EU (especially sensitive geographical areas), but with the cooperation of the Member States' security services, we also provide analysis of terrorism and other global threats that are reflected in the EU internal security.
Despite the fears of some that the transfer to the EEAS could have a chilling effect on the level of intelligence cooperation (12), I see quite the contrary having happened. EU INTCEN has succeeded in maintaining its role as the intelligence analysis provider for all the high level political leaders and EU institutions. In fact, we have multiplied the cooperation methods with the Member States in different levels and forms; a key role in this cooperation is naturally carried by the professionals from the Member States' Security and Intelligence Services. Most EU Member States are now represented in EU INTCEN and we have invested a great deal of energy in creating fruitful cooperation methods with those services that are not yet represented. In order to create a true EU INTCEN tradecraft, we have also set up a training programme for all incoming analysts. This ensures, inasmuch as it is possible, uniformity and consistency in our analysis. To sum up, I believe I can with the support of my peers in the Member States say that for the last couple of years, we have been able to start creating a European intelligence culture, which complements the prevailing national working cultures.
During the last couple of years we have also stepped up our efforts with our military counterpart, the EU Military Staff's Intelligence Directorate (EUMS INT)(13), not only in substance but also in building a structured framework for intelligence support in the EEAS. In June 2012 the High Representative gave a decision establishing the organisation and functioning of the EEAS Intelligence Support Architecture (14), where the roles and responsibilities of all the respective actors are defined. Most importantly, the HR Decision created a formalised process to set the priorities of the intelligence actors in the EEAS.
The ongoing commitment of the High Representative Catherine Ashton and other high-level decision-makers to steer our work is absolutely vital for the intelligence support to function appropriately. The Intelligence Support Architecture is a mechanism that ties intelligence closer to the decision-making process in the EEAS. The priorities for the work of intelligence component, EU INTCEN and EUMS INT, are set every year in the Intelligence Steering Board, which is chaired by the High Representative or the Executive Secretary General. Other members of the Intelligence Steering Board belong to the highest management of the different Managing Directorates of the EEAS. The General Secretariat of the Council – mainly the Counter Terrorism Coordinator – and the Commission are also represented, should the topics in question touch on common interests.
The Intelligence Working Group, co-chaired by the Director of EU INTCEN and the Director of the EUMS INT, is the preparatory organ for the Intelligence Steering Board. The Intelligence Working Group, where again all Managing Directorates of the EEAS are represented, meets monthly to discuss current topics. This two-level approach to intelligence support ensures a balanced dialogue and constant interaction between the decision-makers and the intelligence providers. It also allows us to arrange the intelligence cycle more appropriately to be able to feed in timely assessments for the policy-making process.

From an Open Source Cell to European Civilian Intelligence Hub

As we have seen above, the development of the European intelligence cooperation from a small open source cell to a real European civilian intelligence hub has been determined by both the will of the Member States and the need created by external events. In addition to the cooperative attitude of the Member States, the skilful leadership of both High Representative Solana and the first Director, William Shapcott, need to be recognised. Without their commitment to the project, much of the momentum might have been lost. Instead, their personal input contributed to providing the centre with a basis with high potential for development.
Back in 1998, Politi made some concrete suggestions on European intelligence policy in practice. Among the more prudent ones were a joint centre for training strategic analysts, increased cooperation in non-traditional fields like the 'new risks' and the setting up of a Europol-like cooperative mechanism. The more ambitious schemes included, for example, the creation and management of a Europe-wide network of experts to be used in crisis situations, a high level group to consider intelligence requirements at the European level, various joint intelligence assessment schemes and a grand division of labour between the United States and the Europeans (15).
As we have seen above, much of Politi's thinking has come to fruition. EU INTCEN is today a real hub for the European civilian intelligence community, providing the EU Member States' intelligence and security services a fruitful platform for different kinds of cooperation. EU INTCEN and EUMS INT together as the Single Intelligence Analysis Capacity (SIAC) form a unique setting for comprehensive joint intelligence assessments, covering both civilian and military, and external and internal, aspects of any given situation. On top, the Intelligence Steering Board, headed by the highest foreign policy official in the EU, sets the intelligence requirements for the needs of European Union foreign and security policy-making.
With the EU INTCEN training programme and a well-functioning system of seconded national experts, it also contributes greatly in building up a European network of experts. In addition, we organise regularly events and workshops where analysts from different Member States' services meet up in different settings to exchange views on current topics. I find great value in Davis Cross's observation concerning the transgovernmental network of intelligence professionals: “they form a network because they share the desire to do their work better as governance professionals and in the process they learn to trust each other” (16). EU INTCEN provides the Member States security and intelligence services a much needed platform for European multilateral intelligence communication network.(17).
Oberson dreamed in 1998 that "this European initiative could thus become a benchmark for national intelligence."(18) For natural reasons there are limits as to how much I can elaborate on our products, but I am really pleased that the quality of EU INTCEN work has been recognised both in the European and national levels.(19) I trust that we have found the role for EU INTCEN to support the European foreign and security policy making, without fears of duplication or overstepping its remit – quite like Duke saw in 2006: “a new type of intelligence capability is gradually emerging at the European level, which could not easily be reproduced at the national or bilateral levels”(20). National security is and shall remain the sole responsibility of each Member State. EU INTCEN's role is to provide intelligence analysis for European foreign policy decisions and there we can contribute: for many Member States the intelligence analysis provided by EU INTCEN plays a noteworthy part in forming their views on CFSP matters. In addition, EU INTCEN is a nexus for combining the views of both intelligence and security services and is hence in a unique position to assess the internal effects of external security threats. As for the development of EU INTCEN so far, the future is largely dependent on the same factors: the will and need of the Member States to cooperate on the European level. Lately there has, once again, been some discussion on the need to set up a European Intelligence Agency. For the moment I do not see real need nor will on the part of the Member States to take any steps towards that kind of integration. The trend is rather to identify the areas where multi-European intelligence cooperation can give real added value to the Member States so that national resources can be better focused: I could say that these areas of common interest are more and more outsourced to EU INTCEN. With the current representation of the services present in EU INTCEN, I trust that the needs of both EU institutions and Member States are well catered for.

(1) European Political Cooperation (EPC) was an intergovernmental forum for policy consultation and the exchange of information between EC member states.
European Co-operation in the sphere of foreign policy shall be governed by the following provisions:
1. The High Contracting Parties, being members of the European Communities, shall endeavour jointly to formulate and implement a European foreign policy.
2. (a) The High Contracting Parties undertake to, inform and consult each other on any foreign policy matters of general interest so as to ensure that their combined influence is exercised as effectively as possible through coordination, the convergence of their positions and the implementation of joint action. (...)
(3) See for example Duke 2006.
(4) Naturally European services were already cooperating in NATO, but this was the first time an all-European organ was set up. Oberson 1998.
(5) Franco–British St. Malo Declaration (4 December 1998), article 3.
(6) Set in the Treaty of Amsterdam 1997, arts. 19 and 26.
(7) The Treaty of Amsterdam 1997, 6. Declaration on the establishment of a policy planning and early warning unit, paragraph 5.
(8) Bailes—Messervy-Whiting 2011, p. 73.
(9) SG/HR Solana informed the Member States about his intentions to establish a capability dealing with intelligence assessments in a note to the General Affairs Council (SN 4546/01 REV 1, 15 November 2001).
(10) In accordance with 26 July 2010 Council Decision 2010/427/EU. Duke has shortly examined the pros and cons of including or excluding SITCEN from the EEAS. See Duke 2008, p.12—13.
(11) In this connection, the 24/7 monitoring capacity was transferred to the Situation Room in the Managing Directorate for Crisis Response and Operational Coordination, which concentrates on media reporting on crisis situations all over the world. Mai'a K. Davis Cross has claimed that EU INTCEN would be able to provide much more intelligence than the Member States mainly due to its open source capacities. I feel the need to point out that EU INTCEN is not intended to be an open sources centre of that kind and the decision to transfer the 24/7 capability of the former SITCEN to the current SitRoom naturally means that EU INTCEN will keep on concentrating on all-source intelligence analysis, with Member States intelligence contributions in its core. Davis Cross 2011, p. 13—15.
(12) Fägersten 2011, p. 180.
(13) EU INTCEN and EUMS INT together form the Single Intelligence Analysis Capacity (SIAC), a framework for the functional cooperation of civilian and military intelligence analysis capacities, launched in 2007.
(14) HR Decision of June 2012 establishing the organisation and functioning of the EEAS Intelligence Support Architecture.
(15) Politi 1998b.
(16) Davis Cross 2013, p. 392.
(17) On the need for such a network, see for example Müller-Wille 2004, p. 40—44.
(18) Oberson 1998.
(19) EU INTCEN and EUMS INT conduct regular feedback exercises with our customers and contributors.
(20) Duke 2006, p. 604.