“All Europeans have the right to free and democratic elections without interference from foreign states. Unfortunately, this is not the case in Europe today”, said the EPP Group’s Tomas Tobé MEP ahead of a plenary debate this afternoon (15.00 hrs) in Strasbourg on protecting our democratic processes from foreign interference and disinformation.
“We must speak clearly. The worst culprit is Russia. It is well known that the Russian regime is conducting a constant low intensity disinformation war against Europe. Their state-sponsored media outlets and troll factories fundamentally distort our democratic debate. They fund politicians and parties that spread hatred and discord in our societies. We must do more to defend ourselves against this. We must strengthen our technical expertise, increase our common resilience and be clear that an attack on our democratic institutions comes with consequences. If we leave our democratic decision-making open to foreign interference, we lose our self-determination. If our democratic self-determination is lost, our European way of life is also lost”, Tobé continued.
Underlining that we need sufficient resources to counter these hybrid threats, EPP Group Vice-Chairman Andrey Kovatchev MEP argues that “democracy must have the instruments to defend itself against those who want to undermine it from the inside or the outside.”
The EPP Group has clearly outlined the toolbox necessary to fight disinformation and hybrid warfare tactics. However, a lot will depend on its implementation; therefore, we expect EU countries to deliver on their responsibility.
Following up on the plenary debate, a Resolution on foreign electoral interference and disinformation in national and European democratic processes will be put to the vote at the mini-plenary in Brussels in October.