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MEPs call for more support to counter fake news and foreign election interference

Friday, 11 October, 2019 - 12:17

Foreign interference in electoral processes poses a serious threat to European democracies, for the benefit of populist and far-right movements, says the European Parliament.

In a resolution passed on Thursday by the plenary with 469 votes in favor, 143 against and 47 abstentions, MEPs warn of attempts to influence democratic processes in Europe from abroad.

The text indicates that foreign interference follows a systematic pattern, which may include campaigns on social networks, cyberattacks to infrastructure linked to electoral processes or financial support to political parties during election campaigns. These maneuvers seek to favour candidates opposed to the EU, extremists and populists, the MEPs add.

They warn, in this regard, that despite the fact that most Member States prohibit, partially or totally, donations to parties from outside the country, foreign agents find ways to circumvent the regulations. 

The Chamber shows great concern about the “very dangerous” character of Russian propaganda, the main source of false news in Europe, and that so far this year has doubled in relation to 2018 (998 cases detected by the EU institutions monitoring this area, compared to 434 the previous year).

MEPs also condemn the increasingly aggressive actions of state and non-state agents from third countries trying to weaken European democracies, focusing on the Western Balkan candidate countries for accession to the Union.

The resolution proposes strengthening the working group created in the EU to counter Russian propaganda, giving it a permanent structure, in addition to more funding. MEPs also want internet companies to cooperate in the fight against fake news, without undermining freedom of expression.

 


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