23 countries of Europe officially signed Wednesday the Letter of Intent (LOI), which will complete the project of establishing an Intelligence College in Europe, in the presence of the Croatian PM, Andrej Plenković.

While addressing the media, Plenković explained that the college will not only be an educational institution," but also a sort of a network which will include people from academia, the media and everyone else'' with the aim better find solutions ''to the various threats of the modern world, and especially in Europe''.

''I think this is a very good form of cooperation which is more open than what is usual for this type of service''. He congratulated to Croatian Security and Intelligence Agency, SOA, for the organization in signing today's letter of intent. ''It is good that we have made a step in this domain also during the Croatian Presidency, '' Plenkovic said.

The idea of ​​establishing the College was raised by French President Emmanuel Macron in his speech at Sorbonne in September 2017 when he spoke about a stronger Europe. Macron then expressed, among other things, the need to create a kind of European intelligence academy where EU intelligence communities would converge further through training, education and knowledge.

Croatia was one of the main drivers of the initiative because SOA's Director Daniel Markic was active in creating the college from the beginning. Following the initial talks, on 5 March 2019, France brought together European security and intelligence services, which began to work on the conception of the College of Intelligence in Europe. On that occasion, Markic was one of the panelists. After a year of work, the European services have agreed on a concept and that the College will begin operating in Zagreb.

This is a new form of cooperation, which means it will not replace the operational cooperation we have between EU member states and other countries such as the USA or others. However, we want a little more transparency and trust, said the SOA director.

Markic explained that this form of cooperation is "one at a strategic level" in order to find a "better way to communicate" among the various services.

''We need to communicate differently at the strategic level and that's why this initiative exists. Croatia and SOA initially embraced the initiative. The agency proved to be leading in this project and it is very likely Croatia will chair the college for the first year.''

Although it has not been common for intelligence services to cooperate with the public so far, this college will create a "bridge that will connect us with other communities," Markic said.

A secretariat for coordinating activities will be located in Paris, and occasionally seminars and conferences and conferences will be organized in those countries that will participate in it. Currently, 23 countries are participating in the initiative, including: France, Germany, Italy, Croatia, the Netherlands, Hungary, Portugal, Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Norway, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom. It is expected that the 5 remaining EU countries which didn't adhere so far will join in the future.

Guests at the panel discussed the protection and defense against future security threats and states' preparedness for crisis. Participants were: Sebastian Reyn, Deputy Director of the Dutch National Defense Intelligence and Security Service, Gennaro Vecchione, Head of Italian Security Intelligence Department, Mikk Marran, Director of EFIS (Estonia), Graça Mira Gomes Secretary-General of the Information System of the Portuguese Republic, Daniel Markić, Director of SOA and José Casimiro Morgado, Director Intecen. The discussion was moderated by Professor Vlatko Cvrtila, Dean of Vern University.

The conclusion of the discussion was that in the extreme situations, countries' cooperation is the only way to keep Europe safe and prosperous, while the future brings many challenges such as: cyber threats, digital challenges involving face or network 5G recognition technologies, fake news, etc. Among other things, the head of Italian agents responding at a question from the audience about coronavirus stated that the epidemic doesn't represent a crisis for Italy, the country responded to the case in a timely and expert manner.