EU on brink of establishing joint spy school led by Greece and Cyprus - Politico

The European Union is on the verge of agreeing to set up a joint intelligence school which will be led by Greece and Cyprus, Politico’s Philip Kaleta reported in a piece published Monday.

Politico obtained a draft of a document containing details of the joint spy school and 16 other new projects which will be signed off by defence ministers “of all the EU’s member countries except Denmark, Malta and the United Kingdom under the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) pact.”

Defence ministers from the EU’s 25 member countries are likely to sign off on the joint intelligence training project after the prospect of Brexit removed a serious roadblock in the United Kingdom, formerly a staunch opponent of deepened EU intelligence ties.

“However, eyebrows will be raised by the proposal to have Greece lead the academy, with help from Cyprus, meaning two of the EU’s members with the closest ties to Moscow would run the project,” Kaleta wrote.

Eyebrows may also be raised in Ankara, due to the ongoing disputes with Greece and Cyprus over energy resource rights in the Eastern Mediterranean. Turkey backs the Turkish administration in Norther Cyprus, and has rejected the Greek administration’s right to exploit the potentially huge gas resource around the island, on the basis that doing so would infringe on Turkish Cyprus rights, and part of the maritime territory Nicosia claims lies on Turkey’s continental shelf.

Other joint projects proposed in PESCO include a small joint operations special forces development project led by Greece, an electronic warfare capability project led by the Czech Republic, and others “(ranging) from improving training and facilities to boosting maritime operations and air systems.”
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