In the context of the European Security and Common Defense Policy (ESCP) the EU has a small intelligence service accountable to the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, for the time being Federica Mogherini. This unit would probably be limited to producing summaries based satellite data and would not be empowered to carry out espionage

Going forward, the Union would have an à la carte programme of the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO). Although provision for the latter was made in the Treaty of Lisbon, it only entered into force in 2017. Its scope is to create pooled capabilities while no European army exists. PESC does not operate on a consensus basis but on a complex system of qualified majority which gives a power of veto to the French-German couple.

It’s in this context that on 19 November 2018, all member states except for Denmark, Malta and the United Kingdom, resolved to establish a school for espionage based in Cyprus and under Greek leadership.

This initiative takes place just as the United Kingdom is making preparations to leave the Union. Until now, London had blocked this project to save to its intelligence agencies in the context of the “Five Eyes” (Australia, Canada, the United States, New Zealand and United Kingdom) instead of those of the European Union.

This means that the different Member States will have to surmount the national cultures to pool their methods. This process will be all the more difficult as certain states consider that if a school is based in Cyprus, it will be easier for the United Kingdom, Turkey, Israel and Russia to carry out surveillance of it.

Anoosha Boralessa