Back in the old days Vienna used to be the capital of European espionage. Austria turned a blind eye to numerous agents milling around the Capital on the Danube under the guise of diplomats and businessmen. Austria was not a member of NATO; it abolished visas for the Eastern countries, and was easy to reach. Vienna also housed headquarters of several the then important international organizations. Heaven on Earth, isn’t it?!
Nevertheless it seems that Brussels is taking over the leadership in this area. In his recent interview head of the Belgian police (VSSE) Alain Winants stated that the intelligence services are noticing an incredible growth of political espionage in Brussels. He also pointed out that the main spheres of interest are trade and economic policies of the European Union.
I can only imagine how much trouble the local services must be experiencing. While a typical European capital host hundreds of diplomats on a permanent basis, Brussels can boast with tens of thousands diplomats plus the European officials. Their knowledge is something the intelligence services love hunting for. At the same time it is quite easy to hide in such a crowd.
Winants also noted that an increasing number of journalists, lobbyists, businessmen and even students are carrying out operational activities. He revealed that there were cases when diplomats would be recruited just in order to be used upon the return to their home country.
The Head of Belgian counterintelligence did not mention a thing about the European Parliament though…Author : Marek Siwiec MEP