The last decade has brought a radical change in the security situation of the EU, both internally and internationally, particularly in its closest neighborhood. The dynamics of these recent developments mean that we expect them to intensify, making them one of the main challenges that the EU will be forced to face. Find an effective way to respond to these challenges may be a condition not only for maintaining the level of welfare and the rate of development of the Community but its survival as a political project. The threats facing Europe today are of a very complex nature and the origin and often take on new and previously unknown forms. Some of the previous ones are gaining importance and are acquiring new dynamics and scale. Particularly relevant in this context, the various negative phenomena are interlinked in such a way that causes the internal threats to be stimulated by external factors and vice versa.
This leads to the conclusion that the rapidly changing security environment in the EU forces a redefinition of the institutional architecture, methods, forms, and instruments used so far to prevent and neutralize significant challenges and threats to the Community. A very important factor determining the fundamental change in the rules of the game and forcing immediate reconstruction of the Union’s defense mechanisms is the rapid and unrestrained technological digital revolution and a specific invasion of cyberspace on traditional areas of functioning of European states and societies. The lack of immediate change at different levels of EU existence and activity in the short term may result in the loss of its subjectivity and effective response to threats and crises in its closest surroundings and even its very existence as a whole.
The existing institutional and functional solutions, designed almost two decades ago (under the security and defense policy and internal security policy), in completely different geopolitical conditions, cannot be an effective tool for crisis resolution and neutralization of existential threats. One of the areas that need to be urgently reconfigured is the EU’s intelligence and security system. In December this year, it will be 20 years since the Helsinki European Council, on which its foundations were laid. Since that time has passed an entire epoch. The accepted assumptions at that time have mostly lost their validity and relevance. The EU is facing threats today that nobody thought about at that time. Facing them requires a new institutional and functional architecture – building a modern, coherent and unified intelligence community, using the maximum potential of existing EU institutions and agencies and the Member States. The current model, which was founded almost 20 years ago (despite a few changes made in the meantime, it remains in assumptions unchanged), despite significant progress in the area of cooperation between the Member States, remains dysfunctional and provides to a very small extent a tool to support management of the Union’s security. The attempts made in recent years to reconstruct it and increase participation in Community decision-making processes ended in failure, despite the growing number of challenges, which increased awareness of the need for deeper reforms in this area. Its dispersed nature and incomplete, as if unfinished, institutional architecture make it a tool of limited usefulness, inadequate to the challenges of modern times.
The accelerated evolution of threats in recent years, including the escalation of world power rivalries, involving the EU and its Member States to a large extent, demands urgent action to develop and implement a modern model for an EU strategic intelligence community. In addition to those mentioned above reasons, attention should be paid to the fact that a large part of the threats for the world order and EU’s security are the events and developments in which a key role is played by foreign intelligence services and other non-state actors using methods appropriate to intelligence services. Their actions are directed against both at individual member states of the Union as well as the Union as a whole. Effective defense against them requires effective tools at a supranational and national level that would be able to combine and harmonize synergistically the potential and activities of EU’s and the Member States” institutions. Present dispersed and multicentric model of an intelligence community cannot meet such a goal. It needs a new coherent and integral intelligence community model, based on a full and mature institutional architecture, built on a solid foundation of a central intelligence body (agency) ‘optimizing the use of information and data originating from the Member States and provided by EU agencies and bodies[i] .
It is worth on this occasion to refer to the example of NATO which in 2016 carried out a reform of the intelligence and security system by adjusting the institution to the challenges and needs of contemporary times. Both the adopted method of work on the new model, in which as the head of Foreign Intelligence Agency I had a privilege to participate as the chairman of the NATO Civilian Intelligence Committee, as well as the model developed as a result, could serve as a source of inspiration for the new model of the EU community.
The correct solution seems to set up immediately a panel of experts and policymakers specializing in this field, whose task would be to work out a project for such an institutionalized and formalized model of a European intelligence community, which would be an effective tool for defense and counteracting contemporary challenges and threats to the security of the European Union.
 More on the issue in A. Gruszczak, Perspektywy powołania służby wywiadowczej Unii Europejskiej, w: Meandry współczesnego bezpieczeństwa. Między regionalizacja a globalizacją, pod red. A. Gruszczaka, Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Jagiellońskiego, Kraków 2018, p. 195 – 206.
[i] A. Gruszczak, ibidem,, p. 197