European Parliament to propose legal framework for sanctions on foreign interference
INGE Special Committee
Tomorrow, MEPs will vote on the final report of the special Committee on foreign interference (INGE), which looks into the role of disinformation. The report refers to evidence from several EU countries, as well as the 2016 US election and the Brexit referendum, on how global anti-democratic actors such as Russia and China continue to use nefarious tactics to undermine democracy and the rule of law. It sets out recommendations for resilience in the fight against disinformation and foreign interference, including the need for sanctions, the closing of existing policy loopholes as well as the protection of elections and areas of critical infrastructure.
Viola von Cramon, Greens/EFA Shadow Rapporteur on the Report on Foreign Interference, comments:
“It is more urgent than ever to combat disinformation. The way Russian citizens are being deceived about the aggression against Ukraine is yet more evidence of the threats disinformation poses to European societies. We need to regulate online platforms and their algorithms, and we need to raise more awareness in order to achieve resilience against foreign interference.
“Across the globe, malicious interference affects elections, social media platforms, critical infrastructures, the funding of political activities, cybersecurity and public institutions. The EU needs to make it clear that when autocratic actors attempt to undermine our democracies, there will be harsh consequences. That’s why this report is proposing a legal framework for sanctions on foreign interference.
"We welcome the announcement of High Representative Borrell today to propose such a mechanism that will allow us to sanction malign disinformation actors as part of a wider toolbox. This also requires an effective EU institutional set up to counter information manipulation operations and interference threats against the EU as a whole.”
The Greens/EFA propose to make EEAS StratCom more independent focusing on strategic engagement with EU and international actors by creating a European Centre for Interference Threats and Information Integrity. Analyses and documentation of this independent body would inform the EEAS in collaboration with a new Commission task force. After the Special Committee’s report is adopted, the Commission and EEAS are expected to come out with a series of proposals.