The Intelligence College in Europe is an intergovernmental entity, independent from European Union institutions. It was inaugurated on 5 March 2019 in Paris. It brings together the national intelligence communities of the European states that a party to the College.
The College brings together all the intelligence communities (civilian, military, homeland security, external security, and signals intelligence services) of European countries, national and European decision-makers, as well as the academic world. It aims at stimulating strategic thinking, thus developing a common intelligence culture.
In his speech on the future of Europe delivered on 27 September 2017 at the Sorbonne, the President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron, proposed the creation of a “European Intelligence Academy”, which would serve as a crucible for the emergence of a common strategic culture.
In particular, he stated:
“What Europe lacks most today, this Europe of Defence, is a common strategic culture. […] We do not have the same cultures, whether they be parliamentary, historical or political, nor do we have the same sensitivities. And we will not change that in a day. But I propose right now to try to build this culture together, by proposing a European initiative […] aimed at developing this shared strategic culture. […] I would therefore like to see the establishment of a European Intelligence Academy to strengthen the links between our countries through training and exchange activities.”
The initiative was renamed “Intelligence College in Europe” for its inaugural event in Paris on 5 March 2019. This meeting brought together 66 intelligence services from 30 European countries: the 27 EU Member states as well as Norway, the United Kingdom and Switzerland.
On 26 February 2020, twenty-three states met in Zagreb to sign the letter of intent, which formalises and perpetuates the existence of the Intelligence College in Europe, by establishing its organisation and setting up a governance framework.
Of the 30 countries in Paris on 5 March 2019, 7 of them chose to have a Partner status. The latter allows them to participate in certain College activities. These countries may eventually become Members of the College. In 2023, Bulgaria and Switzerland signed the LoI and became a full Members of the College. The 5 Partners of the College are currently Greece, Ireland, Luxembourg, Poland, and Slovakia.
The Intelligence College in Europe is a platform for reflection, sharing and outreach. College activities stimulate strategic dialogue between:
- Intelligence communities in Europe allowing executives from different services to get together and compare their experiences at a non-operational level.
- Intelligence communities and Academia, through publications and the implementation of an academic programme dedicated to intelligence professionals.
- Intelligence communities and national and European decision-makers, but also citizens, in order to raise awareness about intelligence-related challenges and issues.