The spies left out in the cold: the Brexit dilemma for Europe’s intelligence community

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The British and French intelligence agencies are deeply concerned that their close bilateral cooperation, notably on counter-terrorism activity, remains intact after the UK leaves the European Union. But they are fearful of the consequences, especially in the case of a hard Brexit, when, the EU warns, “The UK will be disconnected from all EU networks, information systems and databases” concerned with police and judicial cooperation. Matthieu Suc reports.

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They meet at least every week, and it was at one such occasion at the beginning of this year when officers from Britain’s domestic intelligence agency, MI5, raised with their French opposite numbers from the DGSI (Direction générale de la sécurité intérieure) their fears of seeing the intelligence cooperation between the two countries collapse after the withdrawal of the UK from the European Union (EU). The French side, Mediapart has learnt, were reassuring, insisting that whatever the vagaries of diplomatic and political relations after Brexit, the two agencies would continue to work hand in hand.