Europe must remain vigilant against foreign electoral threats

We must continue to strengthen our resilience against foreign interference into our democratic processes, warned ECR Group foreign affairs spokesperson Anna Fotyga today. She was speaking after the European Parliament adopted a resolution on foreign electoral interference and disinformation in national and European democratic processes.

Following the vote, Fotyga warned:

“Although a majority of EU Member States have strengthened their capabilities in detecting and countering hostile propaganda, the problem is however still there and needs to be addressed at the highest levels.

“Even though no major interference in the last European elections was identified, we should remain vigilant and remember that interference in elections is part of a broader strategy of hybrid warfare. Responding to this threat therefore remains a core security and foreign policy issue.

“The EU should develop effective measures making it much more difficult for foreign agents to operate inside the EU and force social media platforms to develop stricter rules to prevent their platforms being used for disinformation campaigns.

“However, we must ensure that in addressing this issue we do not undermine freedom of speech or allow social media companies to become privately owned censorship bodies.”

In recent years there has been an alarming increase in the number of instances electoral interference in the EU, which is usually made up of large-scale disinformation campaigns, cyber-attacks and the use of online trolls and fake news accounts. In many cases large social media platforms like Facebook were used by foreign actors, the most notable of these being Russia, as was proven to be the case during elections in Europe and the US.

“That’s why Europe should strengthen the transatlantic link and we should work to increase cooperation and our resistance to disinformation” concluded Fotyga.

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