Select Committee on European Union Forty-Ninth Report


Letter from the Chairman to Dr Denis MacShane MP, Minister for Europe, Foreign and Commonwealth Office

  Thank you for the Explanatory Memorandum dated 9 January 2003 which Sub-Committee C considered at its meeting on 16 January. The Sub-Committee have agreed to clear this item but would like some further information with regard to this issue. In particular:

    —  Can the Government be sure that this agreement is not going to cause offence to the Americans, or indeed the UK by making available intelligence which is the sole property of the US, or US intelligence shared with the UK?

    —  Does this agreement mean that some intelligence made available to NATO will not be shared automatically with the EU?

    —  Why does Article 3 include the Council and the Commission as parties to the Treaty; does Her Majesty's Government consider Article 4(d) the solution to any confusion between the institutions concerning information sharing?

    —  Can we be certain that all countries' vetting procedures are as vigorous as ours? Who will be conducting the enquiries described in Article 7(b)?

20 January 2003

Letter from Denis MacShane to the Chairman

  Thank you for your letter of 20 January requesting further information on my Explanatory Memorandum on the Agreement between the European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation on security of information.

  The Government is sure that this agreement will not cause offence to the United States or the United Kingdom with regard to intelligence sharing, as the United States is an active member of NATO and has been fully involved in the negotiating process. There is no question of United States' intelligence being passed by NATO to the EU except when agreed by the United States.

  Fundamental to this agreement is the principle of originator control. No classified information, including intelligence, will be transferred or exchanged without the consent of the originator. Therefore national intelligence made available to either organisation cannot be automatically shared with the other.

  The Council and the Commission are not parties to the agreement. The parties are NATO and the EU. The purpose of Article 3(b) is to say which institutions of the EU may see information, in the same way as Article 5(a) identifies which States may see information.

  In order to ensure that EU and NATO security procedures are consistent, and that the agreed standards are met and maintained, the NATO-EU Security Agreement provides for reciprocal inspections of the EU by NATO and of NATO by the EU. Both NATO and the EU require their Member States to conduct the enquiries described in Article 7(b) on their behalf in accordance with their respective security regulations.

4 February 2003

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