By Daniel Martin
Last updated at 6:55 PM on 07th August 2008
Brussels plans for a 'Euro CIA' would threaten Britain's national
security by forcing MI5 to pool its intelligence, say critics.
France and Germany are pushing for the sharing of security secrets and
far greater integration between national police forces to tackle
It led to fears that the US would stop sharing important security
secrets with the UK because the European Union has such a problem with
The proposals are contained in a document by six EU countries, known as
the Future Group.
They want to see the beefing up of a shadowy Brussels-based
intelligence-sharing body known as the 'Joint Situation Centre' that
have drawn the most fire.
The organisation, also called 'Sitcen', was originally established in
the 1990s to provide analysis on international crises to the EU foreign
But following the September 11 attacks, the secretive organisation has
seen its role grow to focus on counter terrorism and security.
Now the document, drawn up by the six governments of France, Germany,
Sweden, Portugal, the Czech Republic and Slovenia, says the body should
have a much bigger role, coordinating the work of intelligence services
It would be in charge of a network of anti-terror centres, which would
have access to secret intelligence from each of the EU's 27 countries.
The plan has already been dubbed the European CIA, named after the US
Central Intelligence Agency.
Eurosceptic organisation Open Europe said that any EU version would be
far less effective and reliable than its American counterpart - and
would put Britain's relationship with the US at risk.
'Moves towards a Euro CIA are not a good idea,' said Open Europe's Neil
'The US will not share intelligence with us if we are going to pass it
on to an organisation which leaks like a sieve.
'We could find ourselves putting a lot into such an organisation and
getting very little back.'
The issue of EU leaks was raised two years ago by Finnish foreign
minister Erkki Tuomioja, who said: 'For a long time it has been known
that, within an hour after being distributed to the member states, all
EU documents concerning the Middle East have already reached Tel Aviv,
and probably Washington and Moscow.'
And in the 1990s, the French were accused of handing information
received from MI6 to the Serb military during the war in the former
However, the Future Group document said anti-terrorist campaigns can
only be effective if 'maximum information flow between [EU] member
states is guaranteed', the report said.
'Relevant security-related information should be available to all
security authorities in the member states,' it said, concluding that
'networks of anti-terrorist centres' was a possible solution.
It added: 'The EU should make up its mind with regard to the political
objective of achieving a Euro-Atlantic area of cooperation with the
United States in the field of freedom, security and justice.'
Mr O'Brien also accused France and Germany of pushing ahead with
proposals in the Lisbon Treaty to create a Europe-wide police force,
despite the treaty's rejection by Irish voters.
He said that if the Future Group proposals were put into effect,
European crime-fighting agencies Eurojust and Europol could find their
The Lisbon Treaty, which is now on hold after its rejection by Irish
voters, envisaged the organisations being allowed to initiate
prosecutions and investigations.
The European Commission is funding a 'study on the feasibility of and
obstacles to the creation of a federal police force for the European
Other ideas in the Future Group document include an EU-led propaganda
campaign on the web to turn people away from terrorism.
There should be a 'European gendarmerie force' for deployment and
intervention outside the EU, it said.
The document also suggests that by 2014, the EU should have a common
Last night Conservative Europe spokesman Mark Francois said: 'Everyone
knows our Europhile foreign secretary David Miliband has other things on
his mind at the moment but he should be focusing on these worrying
proposals,' he said.
'There are already well established procedures for sharing sensitive
intelligence information to combat terrorism, but this report goes well
'When Parliament returns we will want to press ministers in detail about
Last night a spokeswoman for the Home Office said: 'Under European law
there is no question of the UK being forced to participate in measures
Thursday, 7 August 2008
Posted by Britannia Radio at 21:40