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Does European intelligence have a future?

Pending the decision on the nomination of the future President of the Situation Centre (Sitcen), it seemed interesting to get a better view of this European service that will celebrate its 10th anniversary. It is also the occasion to focus on theEuropean intelligence and observe in which direction it has evolved since the Lisbon Treaty. The SitCen is now part of the European External Action Service (EEAS) under the leadership of Ms Ashton and brings together national experts to analyze intelligence assessments from the Member States (MS). For ages, intelligence has been crucial for decision takers: it helps them to reduce their uncertaintyabout a security policy problem or to draw conclusions about attributes of other actors/state of the world that are not directly observable.
With the creation of the EEAS, one of the goals of the European Union (EU) is to foster EU intelligence. However, according to many, while this sector will improve in significant ways, it is expected to remain decentralized and reactive, because of the MSsovereignty, and is unlikely to create any serious competition to NATO and other intelligence agencies in the near term. Actually, SitCen has to face a problem: the national officials decide what information they want to send to SitCen. In fact, despite the existence of encouraging factors for an increased cooperation, obstacles such as concerns over sovereignty, the fear of damaging privileged NATOrelationships and institutional limitations are disturbing the creation of a supranational European intelligence authority. Our question is then the following: is European intelligence effective as it is now, should it evolve and how should it evolve in regard to national and international intelligence structures?

In order to understand the regain of interest concerning intelligence within theEU, we need to go back few years ago. Following the events of 09/11, a new threat came, referred to as « hyper-terrorism ». As regards the inability of the US to prevent terrorist activity in its own territory, leaders of the EU committed themselves to struggle against such threat together; they realized that the distinction between internal and external security was no longer accurate due toglobalization. Nevertheless, in spite of the progress (European arrest warrant, Europol,…) and the efforts to strengthen its autonomy of evaluation and decision through a European secret service, European intelligence is not following these achievements, as it should, considering its central role in the decision making process. 
Created by the European Security and Defense Policy in 2001, Sitcen wasan information exchange organization between France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy and Spain notably. Composed by civilians and military agents, the staff is partly seconded from the MS, from PPU and the intelligence section of the EUMS. However, whatever the level of its information, it seems that only a small part of it is transmitted to the Political and Security Committee (PSC). In otherwords, the decisions taken by the PSC are barely influenced by Sitcen information and instead mostly or only by information from the MS. Besides, some diplomats argue that the quality of its files is quite low and that they do not have an added value compared to the ones that could be found in the news. The quality files are secretly shared between some MS through their own channels and theexchanges are voluntary, as requested by MS.

The Union is trying to shape a European intelligence community but it faces a challenge: does it needs new intelligence agencies at the European level, or should the cooperation take place between national agencies? The EU structure currently accommodates both forms of vertical and horizontal cooperation. With the restructuration of its agencies and...