Diplomacy: Ashton plans single EU spy hub

22 February 2010 – Presseurop EUobserver.com

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Lady Ashton intends to merge three intelligence-sharing bureaus to create a single EU intelligence hub, reveals euobserver.com. The head of the European External Action Service, the EU’s foreign “ministry” established by the Lisbon Treaty “aims to merge into one new department the EU Council's Joint Situation Centre, its Watch-Keeping Capability and the European Commission's Crisis Room to help guide EAS decisions on security matters.” The Joint Situation Centre, “contains a cell of secret service agents seconded from EU capitals”, and “pools classified information sent in by member states”. Watch-Keeping Capability “pulls in news from the EU's 23 police and military missions” while the Crisis Room “operates a secure website with breaking news about the world's 118 active conflicts from open sources and from the commission's foreign embassies”. The mandate for the new department is so far unclear, but it will not have undercover operatives in the field. Said one EU official, "Belgium and Austria proposed this [creating an EU secret service] after Madrid,” referring the 2004 terrorist attack. “But we are still light years away."

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