France Wants to Keep Ties to U.K. Intelligence, Brexit or Not

(Bloomberg) -- U.K. intelligence services will remain fundamental to European security regardless of Brexit, a senior official from the French president’s office said.

Both British and European intelligence services are committed to continuing their close cooperation and information-sharing even after the U.K. leaves the European Union, the official said, asking not to be named in line with presidential protocol.

The countries face a similar array of threats, especially from terrorists, according to the official.

President Emmanuel Macron is preparing to welcome a contingent from the British intelligence services to Paris on Tuesday for the first meeting of the Intelligence College of Europe, an informal group the French leader proposed as part of his plans for tightening links between EU members in 2017.

Norway and Switzerland will also be represented alongside the 28 EU members as intelligence officials from the civilian and military world discuss how to forge a “common cultural strategy.” Macron will be the keynote speaker.

A joint intelligence community was one of the proposals the president set out during a September 2017 speech on the future of Europe.

The Intelligence College doesn’t mark the beginning of a common European intelligence force, the official said, as national governments will retain control, though it will offer a forum to allow the espionage community to make its voice heard.

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