News BlogEEAS High Representative

OSS Bergamini at the head of European “Intelligence”? (shift)

(BRUSSELS2) SITCEN – situation center (in other words intelligence) of the EU – changes boss. Frenchman Patrice Bergamini takeswould the relay of the British William Shapcott who had held this position since the creation of SITCEN, after the terrorist attacks of 2001 (1) and was appointed to another position at the Council of the EU (2).

A small revolution

This appointment is anything but trivial. When SITCEN was created, the British had made it a condition sine qua to their participation the presence of one of their own at its head. This is therefore a significant evolution of this position. And this service should, by integrating the diplomatic service, experience a certain development – ​​always out of sight. It will, in fact, retain its autonomy – like all the civil-military services of European defense – as well as direct access to the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs.

Formally, however, SitCen should only be transferred on January 1 under the authority of the High Representative of the EU, Cathy Ashton. In the meantime, it remains under the authority of the Council of the EU (the member states). And the appointment of Bergamini (who “acts” as director pending the creation of the EEAS) must still be approved by the Secretary General of the Council of the EU). But he has the support of Ashton… as well as “services”. Which is, after all, the essential!

A service that just wants to prosper

The SitCen comprises around a hundred people, mainly seconded from the Member States, and is divided into several units: the communications center which manages consular affairs in particular to coordinate the action of the Member States in the event of an accident or disaster at the foreign (as in Haiti, recently); an analysis unit, which delivers daily (or more) analysis of events that have happened in the world and an operational unit. SitCen is one of the only entities operating 24 hours a day, 24 days a year, in a very discreet EU office. An exciting universe… This blog will return to it.

Patrice Bergamini is used to light and shadow

French diplomat, foreign affairs advisor, Patrice Bergamini served on the Quai d'Orsay task force on the former Yugoslavia and at the French Embassy in Rome (as first Secretary). Then it was made available to the EU. From 2001, he was the Balkans, Middle East and Africa advisor to Javier Solana (then High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs) and participated in particular in the work on the European security strategy, then its director- deputy of the cabinet (where he was notably in charge of the CFSP and special representatives). When she took office, Catherine Ashton had a moment of hesitation, reluctant to take over the Solana'boys. Then, finally, she decided to integrate him into her team. At the Baroness's office, Bergamini followed certain strategic questions. His particular objective was to redress the image of the High Representative, damaged by the press, and especially his first missteps, not hesitating to receive journalists to detail all the difficulties of the job of High Representative and pleading for give him time to prove himself. A task of conviction and dialogue in which he excelled, knowing how to remain frank, relatively rare in official European spheres.

(Maj Dec. 2010) Finally another solution was preferred and it was a Finn who was appointed. Read : Finn Ilkka Salmi appointed head of SitCen

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

(1) The history of SitCen is a little older. It dates back to the times of the WEU. In 1999, when Javier Solana took office as the first High Representative for EU foreign policy, he shifted the center of gravity of SitCen towards the European Union. It is then an organizational measure (Solana in fact exercises the dual role of secretary general of the WEU and secretary general of the Council of the EU at the same time as the function of chief diplomat of the EU). The SitCen/Crisis Unit then integrated the brand new “Policy unit” as a simple office, headed by the Dane Matthiessen and made up of a few people. It was after the attacks of 2001 (New York) then those of 2004 (London, Madrid) that the service really expanded, becoming a department in its own right, with broader responsibilities.

(2) W. Shapcott rises to the top, appointed chief personnel officer at Council

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).

Comments closed.