ZAGREB, February 26, 2020 – Twenty-three countries, meeting at a conference in Zagreb on Wednesday, signed a letter of intent to establish the Intelligence College in Europe.
“The Intelligence College is a tool for cooperation, and cooperation is the only way for Europe to remain safe and prosperous,” said the Director of Croatia’s Security and Intelligence Agency (SOA), Danijel Markić.
“A safe, stable and prosperous Europe is our common goal,” he said, adding that the aim of this initiative was to become “a bridge towards other communities.”
The initiative aims to ensure dialogue between the European intelligence community, decision makers and the academic community.
Markić said that it was necessary to find a better way of communicating at a strategic level because of the diversity of intelligence services. Some are internal or external, with police powers or without them, and SOA is a hybrid service.
Prime Minister Andrej Plenković described the Intelligence College as “a very good form of cooperation which is more open than is usual in the intelligence community.” He added that it would not be “operational cooperation”, but that the College would deal with “strategic issues, communication and training.”
The Intelligence College will not function as a platform for the exchange of security and intelligence data. It will be based in Paris, and conferences and seminars will be held in countries that join it.
Thirty countries, including all 27 EU member states, the United Kingdom, Norway and Switzerland, have been offered to participate in the initiative. To date, 22 EU member states and the UK have given the green light to the Intelligence College, while EU members Bulgaria, Slovakia, Poland, Luxembourg and Greece have not yet joined in. Plenkovic believes that “the other countries will join with time.”
Ranko Ostojić, the chairman of the parliamentary Committee on Home Affairs and National Security, stressed the importance of intelligence services and their cooperation with other actors, stressing that “whoever is in control of information also controls the situation.”
“You see what’s going on with the new epidemic which may turn into a pandemic. Professional, experienced people who possess information can be of great help to decision makers,” he said.
The idea to establish the Intelligence College was floated by French President Emmanuel Macron in a speech at the Sorbonne in September 2017, when he expressed the need to establish a kind of European intelligence academy where EU intelligence communities would converge through training, education and exchange.
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