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The Logic of Informal Security Cooperation: Counterterrorism Intelligence-sharing in Europe

Project description

Understanding informal counterterrorist intelligence cooperation

The threat of terrorism in Europe has led to increased counterterrorism cooperation that relies on counterterrorism intelligence sharing. The EU-funded LINSEC project will explore what drives and sustains informal counterterrorism cooperation in Europe. It will improve our understanding of the logic of informal security cooperation. The project will combine security studies, international history studies and intelligence studies, relying on the University of Southern Denmark’s knowledge in security studies, interviews with intelligence officials and over 30 000 intelligence records from 1971 to 1979. LINSEC will analyse the internal and external factors determining cooperation, agencies’ reactions to security threats and conditions suggesting informal security cooperation. Finally, it will compare informal counterterrorism cooperation in the 1970s and today.


This MSCA research project on the logic of informal security cooperation (LINSEC) combines the research fields of security studies, IR, international history, and intelligence studies to answer the project’s overarching research question: What drives and sustains informal counterterrorism cooperation? To answer this question, LINSEC builds on the University of Southern Denmark’s (SDU) expertise in security studies, my research experience in history and intelligence studies, interviews with intelligence officers, and my recently obtained unprecedented access to over 30,000 intelligence records from 1971 to 1979. These records are from a counterterrorism intelligence-sharing framework called the Club de Berne, which is still today’s main cooperation platform for informal intelligence-sharing on terrorism. To understand the logic of informal security cooperation, the project analyses four different aspects. (1) The prerequisites: what internal and external factors determine whether policymakers seek informal security cooperation. (2) Cooperation mechanism: how agencies react to terrorist threats and adapt their habits and modes of security cooperation. (3) Formal versus informal: the conditions under which these actors prefer informal over formal security cooperation, and how informal counterterrorism cooperation ties in or comes into conflict with formal alliances. (4) Continuity over time: what made informal counterterrorism cooperation effective in the 1970s and what makes it effective today? Each of these elements form one objective, which then contain a corresponding research, training, and dissemination subobjective.
This project aligns squarely with the Horizon 2020 security research area and its aim of fostering secure European societies. Providing a better understanding of the factors that enhance interstate security cooperation will benefit scholars, security professionals, and policymakers alike.


Net EU contribution
€ 219 312,00
5230 Odense M

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Danmark Syddanmark Fyn
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 219 312,00