Belgium wants unified ‘European CIA,’ cites Paris attacks

Belgium's Prime Minister Charles Michel. © Christian Hartmann
The Paris terror attacks have prompted Belgium to call for a unified European intelligence agency that would share information to nip future threats in the bud. The idea has been met with skepticism from such EU members as Germany.

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The statement was made by Belgium’s Prime Minister, Charles Michel. “We must quickly put in place a European intelligence agency, a European CIA,” in order to “unmask those with hostile intentions,” Michel said on French radio RTL.

His proposal follows the horrific attacks in Paris, which were orchestrated by a terrorist cell out of Belgium. According to the prime minister, the incident brought a lack of information sharing between various European intelligence agencies to light. Michel stressed that Europe-wide protocols could prevent future attacks within the EU.

“If intelligence services were able to share information without fail there might never be another attack,” he said, stressing that no system has been put in place to regularize these exchanges.

The idea of a central European intelligence agency had already been brought up by the European Home Affairs commissioner, Dimitris Avramopoulos, on Friday.

However, not all countries seem to be onboard with the idea, including Germany.

“We shouldn’t waste our energy on a European intelligence agency,” German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said on Friday, adding that EU members should “concentrate on improving the exchange of information through existing institutions.”

Moreover, France’s Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve was “very hesitant about the proposition”.

Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) claimed responsibility for the attacks that killed 130 people in Paris. French police have searched 2,000 houses, detained 212 people for questioning, launched 250 judicial procedures, and put 312 people under house arrest since then.