European Union leaders meeting in Brussels on October 19 are expected to take a hard stance against hackers. According to reports, they will seek a pledge from Russia and China to help stop cyberattacks.

“Work on the capacity to respond to and deter cyberattacks through EU restrictive measures should be taken forward,” EU leaders will say, according to a draft of their final summit statement.

“Negotiations on all cybersecurity proposals should be concluded before the end of the (EU) legislature,” the draft statement said, referring to the April 18 closure of the European Parliament’s term.

On October 17, addressing the German parliament, German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke of possible manipulation of next May’s European Parliament election.

According to Reuters, Western officials widely believe that Russia has made cyber and electronic warfare part of its military operations. Britain, the Netherlands and the United States have accused Moscow of conducting a global campaign of computer hacks against the West.

Russia denies meddling in elections or hacking institutions. Russian officials portray such allegations as part of a campaign intended to entrench Moscow’s reputation as an enemy.

The issue will be discussed by the 28 EU leaders with Asian leaders, including Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and China’s Premier Li Keqiang, during a special EU-Asia summit that starts in the evening of October 18.

According to Reuters, leaders will stress “the importance of combating cyber security threats, preventing potential use of information and communication technologies for criminal or terrorist purposes and disinformation”.