Why are the EU so concerned about pushing through the Lisbon treaty, when regardless of it they are able to push ahead with more and more integration measures, in areas we should all be concerned about?
The latest is a plan for a central intelligence unit where all secret intelligence collected by member states is stored and can be accessed by any of them.
This is not only practically dubious, but represents an important cornerstone of national soveriegnty being given up. The security services are likely to object strongly to any government support for the scheme.
If this is introduced, we may have to drop the phrase national security and replace it with European security. National secrets will no longer be secrets, and once this point is passed, it will inevitably lead to calls for a European Spy Force, as all intelligence is shared anyway. Together with an EU army and police, and before you know it an EU superstate, but all crept into in the name of co-operation. I barely trust the British state, let alone a less democratic institution with less reason to act in my interests.
And the idea of national interest is very much at the heart of this. The world of the security services is shadowy, underhand, dodgy, secretive and somewhat above the law. Whether we like its existence or not, there must be a lot of operations which are a ‘necessary evil’ in the national interest. But in whose interest would any EU scheme be run? The only interest of EU politicians is further EU integration.
And practically, it would fail as well. For one, how much should we trust other security forces? Are they vetted as well as ours and safe to release information to? Do we trust what we recieve from them? An answer would of course be more standardisation, till effectively we had one EU intelligence service, but as I have explained I wouldn’t trust them.
It is possible that one or two agencies (I assume the UK and France have the largest?) would end up doing all the work, with smaller nations happy to use the results. It is possible that one nation, acting on intelligence from another, would risk exposing the source of the intelligence. Would all spies in other EU states, there for whatever reason be exposed?
This could lead to less effective intelligence, with countries so afraid of stepping on each others toes, or being forced to expose important sources, that collaboration is stifled. The only way this central system can work is in one country, with a broadly unified interest. That is not the state of the EU at present. The EU is set on building the institutions of a unified state, in the hope that we the people will naturally follow and conform. But it is the institutions that should follow the lead of the people and be built if the people decide they want a unified Europe, not vice versa.
The report states
“It appears that this sector cannot be managed politically by individual member states.”
which means they want it managed politically by the EU. And I think the word politically is the one to be scared of. The global terrorism they claim this will combat is a security, not political issue (the causes may be political, but public protection in terms of intelligence shouldn’t be).
In fact what I foresee is that the various intelligence agencies would continue to work for their own national interests. What they decide to share now, on bi-lateral bases, is a decision taken with respect to each case, and so would be what to upload onto the EU database. There may be rules on what should be shared, but who would check up on secret services braking the rules? They could easily keep some stuff secret.
The central intelligence unit could well end up being a repository of truly useless, easily gathered and not very secret information.
Also worrying are other suggestions such as extending the European Gendarmerie Force to the whole EU. Britain, doesn’t have or need a military police force, especially one whose allegiance lies elsewhere.
Any state has a number of important elements. The judiciary has already passed largely to the EU side, parliament is still sovereign here, but losing power all the time. To lose control of police and armed forces would probably be the peak of independence passed, with a long hard struggle to get back.
If it doesn’t work, the scheme is pointless, if it does, potentially dangerous. Either way we must oppose this!