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EU: Tuppurainen (Council), foreign interference and fake news threaten democracy. EU and States must protect citizens

(Strasbourg) The problem exists and we must act. Foreign electoral interference and disinformation in national and European democratic processes – these are all issues the EU is well aware of and has long spoken up against. And it is precisely on these issues that the representatives of the European Parliament, Commission and Council will be holding a debate in Strasbourg in the next few days. On Thursday, 19 September, MEPs are scheduled to vote on a parliamentary resolution. According to Tytti Tuppurainen, Minister for European Affairs of the Finnish Government (Finland is holding the six-month presidency of the EU Council of Ministers), “external powers” and fake news “undermine the stability of political systems in the EU Member States, influence their vote, and threaten the EU’s freedoms and cohesion”. She explained the actions taken by the Union: in December 2018, the European Commission published an Action Plan against Disinformation, and in March this year, the Parliament adopted a resolution pointing at Russia, China, Iran and North Korea as the main sources of disinformation in Europe. A “rapid alert system” has been established with the involvement of web giants in actions against disinformation and hate speech. Mrs Tuppurainen also stressed the need to “strengthen resilience to these threats”. “The EU and Member States must act to protect freedom and democracy, but the civil society, too, must make its contribution”: for example, citizens themselves should be encouraged to play an active role in increasing their digital and cultural information.

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