New European spying proposals threaten British security - EU may force MI5 to share intelligence

Under the plans, seen by the Daily Telegraph, all countries would feed secret information into a central intelligence unit so that any member state can use it. But the proposals risk hard won intelligence gathered by British agents being leaked by less scrupulous security services, particularly in the former Communist states of Eastern Europe. Although the Government has contributed to the proposals being drawn up, Britain's security services are likely to put up stiff opposition to the plans.

Historically British intelligence officers have enjoyed a good relationship with their US counterparts, regularly exchanging information particularly in the fight against terrorism. However, there has been a degree of mistrust between the British authorities and European security agencies. In the 1990s the French intelligence service was blamed for leaking information shared by MI6 to the Serbian military.

One senior security source told the Daily Telegraph: "We have well-worked principles about how we share information using bi-lateral relationships built up over many years.