The EU's Intelligence System and its Oversight and Democratic Accountability

  • Juliane Silke Ulbricht

Traethawd ymchwil myfyriwr: Traethawd Ymchwil MeistrMeistr yn y Economeg ac Astudiaethau Cymdeithasol


This research aims to answer two questions: firstly, whether the EU itself does or does not possess intelligence capabilities, and secondly, if so, whether they are subject to sufficient parliamentary oversight.
To answer the first question, the term 'intelligence' is defined as referring to security-related information, tailored to the specific needs of a decision-maker. Hence, in this work, formal EU bodies engaging in the production of intelligence via the intelligence activities of collection, processing, analysis, and dissemination qualify as 'EU intelligence body'. Thereby, intelligence
collection is argued to be performed even if the body does not engage in the collection of secret information using special powers.
This definition is used to argue that currently, five EU bodies qualify as intelligence bodies: the CFSP's Satellite Centre, the Military Staff's Intelligence Directorate and the Intelligence Analysis Division, and the AFSJ's Europol and Frontex. As they increasingly form a unit, it is concluded that the EU indeed possesses an emerging intelligence system.
On this basis, the parliamentary oversight of the EU intelligence bodies is assessed. Based on the definition of intelligence oversight and democratic accountability elaborated in this work, the European Parliament's and the Member States' parliaments' capabilities to effectively oversee the EU intelligence bodies are examined. Particular attention is paid to the parliaments' resources and access to classified information, their influence on the intelligence
bodies' mandates and budgets, and their oversight of the bodies' activities.
Thereby, several flaws are identified that hamper the parliaments' oversight. In particular, the CFSP intelligence bodies are found to be de facto accountable neither to national parliaments, nor the European Parliament. Thus, the EU currently does not live up to its own democratic values with regard to democratic accountability. Hence, it is concluded that the parliamentary oversight of the EU intelligence system needs to be improved
Dyddiad Dyfarnu2013
Iaith wreiddiolSaesneg
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  • Prifysgol Aberystwyth
GoruchwyliwrClaudia Hillebrand (Goruchwylydd)

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