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Tuesday, 17 September 2019 - Strasbourg Revised edition

11. Foreign electoral interference and disinformation in national and European democratic processes (debate)
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  Der Präsident. – Als nächster Punkt der Tagesordnung folgt die Aussprache über die Erklärungen des Rates und der Kommission zur Einmischung des Auslands in demokratische Prozesse der Mitgliedstaaten und Europas und entsprechender Desinformation (2019/2810(RSP)).


  Tytti Tuppurainen, President-in-Office of the Council. – Mr President, honourable Members, almost four months have passed since the European Parliament elections, which were combined in several Member States with other elections. No major interference campaign was identified, but fact—checkers and academia have nonetheless flagged malicious activity from foreign sources to influence turnout and voter preferences. We have to be constantly prepared. We should make sustained efforts to raise awareness, increase preparedness and strengthen the resilience of our democracies to hybrid threats, including disinformation. This is a priority for our presidency.

Long-term efforts are needed to enhance the resilience of our democratic societies since disinformation and hybrid threats in general are a permanent part of our security environment. The evolving nature of the threats and the growing risk of malicious interference and online manipulation associated with the development of artificial intelligence and data-gathering techniques require continuous assessment and an appropriate response.

The Council welcomes the Commission’s intention to conduct an in-depth evaluation of the implementation of commitments made by online platforms and other signatories under the code of practice. The Council is monitoring the implementation in its working parties and will be ready to examine action that could be proposed by the Commission by the end of the year.

Before the end of the year, we expect the Commission report on the 2019 European Parliament elections, which should pay particular attention to preparedness and resilience, geared to withstanding interference in elections. More broadly, it will be interesting to hear the thoughts of the Commission on possible further initiatives it might take.

We attach great importance to this subject, as has been repeatedly underlined by the European Council, including in the new Strategic Agenda. The EU institutions and the Member States have an important role to play, in terms of their respective remits, in the protection of democratic processes. This requires concerted efforts by the EU and the Member States and also by civil society and the private sector. Our response has to be comprehensive, with the focus on both the internal and external dimensions of the threat.

Since the conclusions the Council adopted in March on securing free and fair European elections, which welcomed the Commission electoral package and the Joint Action Plan Against Disinformation, much has been done both by the EU institutions and in individual Member States: the organisation of regular meetings of the European Election Cooperation Network, in which Member States share expertise and good practice and jointly identify threats; the setting up of the Rapid Alert System whereby national contact points in Member States rapidly share information on disinformation campaigns; the enhancement of strategic communication on European values and policies; the strengthening of the European media ecosystem by facilitating networks of independent fact-checkers; the promotion of media and digital literacy and awareness-raising activities to protect the integrity of the electoral process, together with the private sector and civil society; the assessment of cyber-threats in the electoral context and of the measures to address them and preserve the integrity of the electoral system; the monitoring, as already mentioned, of the implementation by social media platforms of the code of practice; and, finally, cooperation with the relevant international actors. So much has been done.

To contribute to these efforts, the Romanian Presidency prepared a report to the last European Council on countering disinformation and on the lessons learned from the European elections. Continuing that work, one of the top priorities of our presidency is to enhance the resilience of our democratic societies against foreign interference, through coordinated and coherent action across all relevant policy fields in order to strengthen the comprehensive security of our citizens.

I want to underline that all this work to protect our open, democratic societies must be carried out while fully respecting the fundamental rights of our citizens, including freedom of expression. In this context, our presidency places particular emphasis on strengthening the EU’s capabilities in countering hybrid threats and building resilience in the EU and Member States. Already in July, a permanent Council working party with a horizontal mandate was established and held its first meeting.

It is also essential to continue developing partnerships, especially our cooperation with NATO. The Helsinki-based European Centre of Excellence for countering hybrid threats also contributes to fostering cooperation in this field.

Disinformation strategies by foreign state and non-state actors are also deployed beyond our EU borders. Alongside tackling the problem within the Union, the Action Plan Against Disinformation outlines our significant interest in working with partners in the EU’s eastern and southern neighbourhood and in the Western Balkans. Exposing disinformation and strengthening media, information and digital-literacy skills in our neighbourhood are key elements in this regard.

We need to act together in a structured and coordinated way in order to tackle these challenges. Protecting elections is at the core of defending our European values.


  Věra Jourová, Member of the Commission. – Mr President, respect for democracy, fundamental rights and the rule of law are the three common values which bind the Union together. We should not take them for granted. President—elect von der Leyen has announced that protecting European democracy will be a priority for her Commission. She underlined that our democratic systems have come increasingly under attack from those who wish to divide and destabilise the Union. Therefore, we need to do more to protect ourselves from external influences.

The spread of disinformation and the influence of dark money affect policymaking processes by skewing public opinion and distorting the debate. Domestic and foreign actors can exploit this to manipulate policy, societal debates and behaviour in areas such as climate change, migration, public security, health and finance. Manipulation can also diminish trust in science and empirical evidence.

The conduct of free and fair elections is primarily the responsibility of Member States. Nevertheless, a European approach is necessary, given the cross-border dimension of efforts to manipulate democracy and the importance of joining efforts to address the threats. What affects one Member State can affect all.

Through the electoral package in September 2018, the Commission took determined action to support Member States’ efforts to protect the integrity of elections and combat disinformation. Implementing the package, the Commission encouraged national electoral networks to identify best practices for the management of risks to the electoral process.

Cooperation between Member States was fostered by the newly established European cooperation network on elections, which allowed exchange of best practices and creation of operational links between Member States. The network met four times in the run—up to the elections and had a first stocktaking meeting immediately after the elections.

It brought together representatives from the national networks, who had fruitful exchanges among themselves and with representatives of other institutions, including Parliament and civil society. Its activities cover all aspects of this complex area, from exchanges on awareness—raising for citizens and cooperation with platforms, to the mapping of legal instruments applicable to foreign funding. It also included a table—top exercise at European level to help Member States assess and potentially strengthen their resilience to cyber—attacks.

Member States engaged actively in the European cooperation network and expressed their desire for both the national and the European networks to continue their work beyond the European elections in order to support Member States’ efforts to increase the resilience of their electoral systems.

Our preliminary assessment on the implementation of these efforts in the context of the recent European elections is quite encouraging. The coordinated EU approach helped to ensure stronger preparedness and coordination in the fight against manipulation and disinformation. As was done for previous elections, we are currently conducting a thorough examination of the conduct of the elections to the European Parliament.

We are also cooperating with international partners through a range of forums, including NATO and the G7, as well as with individual states. This reflects a comprehensive and coordinated approach among democracies to tackle disinformation and foster resilient electoral processes. International cooperation ensures that the tools and unique capabilities of all actors act in unison, in full respect of fundamental rights, in particular the freedom of expression and of association.

As announced by President—elect von der Leyen, the Commission – if confirmed by Parliament – will aim to put forward a European democracy action plan addressing the threats of external intervention in our European elections. If confirmed in the vice—president role by this House, I will coordinate the work on this plan. Building up the resilience of our democratic systems and countering of disinformation and fake information are necessities of our current situation. Not less important, the freedoms of expression and of the press in the landscape of media pluralism will also be pursued and protected by the next Commission.

In all these efforts – again, if confirmed in my future role by this House – I will work closely with Parliament, with the Member States, with citizens and with stakeholders on protecting and nurturing democracy in Europe.


  Julian King, Member of the Commission. – Mr President, I’m going to focus on the challenge of disinformation. As we’ve already heard, fortunately during the recent European parliamentary elections, there was no large-scale, coordinated disinformation attack. But that does not mean, unfortunately, that those elections were a disinformation free zone. They were not. There are myriad reports from across Europe of different sorts of disinformation. For example, to take an example from another Member State, let’s take an example from Germany. There are well-researched reports that show that online promotion for one of the German parties represented up to 86% of all party activity on Facebook. Four times the comments, six times the shares of all other political parties combined. Many of these likes and shares came from a cluster of 80 000 suspicious accounts, with random two-letter first and last names, that each mutually liked hundreds and thousands of pieces of content. Large-scale automated propaganda and disinformation is unfortunately a fact. It’s a fact of our modern political life, and if the platforms can’t figure out that thousands of coordinated accounts with random two-letter names are suspicious, then we have a problem.

I don’t know about you but I don’t think we can accept this as the new normal. We need to do more to work together to close down the space in which hostile and bad actors are trying to do this disinformation and to build our resilience to make it harder to do and to allow us to resist its impact.

Which is why we, together with the Member States and a number of other partners, have been working on at least four areas.

First, as has been mentioned, we’ve established a rapid alert system bringing the EU institutions and the Member States together to work to spot and tackle coordinated disinformation campaigns. We’re working to reinforce this mechanism. We’re doing a series of consultations at the moment to enhance how we do information exchange between the Member States, the institutions and with the platforms, as well as civil society researchers, and to build a strengthened hub for research and analytics of disinformation.

Second, over the past two years in fact, we have mobilised a community of fact checkers, researchers and civil society, to help detect and analyse disinformation campaigns and to discuss how we design our responses. To boost the impact of this work, of this community, we will soon deploy a new European online platform to bring together 38 fact-checking organisations from across 17 Member States, working on this platform funded through the Connecting Europe Facility programme.

But if they’re going to do this work effectively, we also need the platforms to play their part. We need them to provide secure access to data for these trusted fact checkers and researchers to enable them to do their research, to enable us together to unlock better responses. All the time, of course, making sure that we respect the necessary ethical and professional standards, which brings me to the third point we’ve been working on.

We’ve pushed the big Internet platforms to sign up to a code of practice on disinformation, as has already been set out. We finalised that work in September last year. The initial signatories – Facebook, Google, Twitter, Mozilla, trade associations from the advertising sector – have, I’m glad to say, now been joined also by Microsoft.

So this is a serious group of people. They took together a list of commitments – 15 different commitments – and we are monitoring the performance against those commitments. By the middle of September – anytime now – we are going to see the signatories deliver their own self assessment to us. Then we are going to work with a number of third-party consultants to deliver an independent third-party review of performance against those commitments by the middle of October.

Building on those reports, we’d expect to communicate our overview of where we are on implementation of the code before the end of October. Then the final step, our full assessment, will come in the form of a Commission communication which is planned to be published at the beginning of next year after further consultations with independent experts as well as Member States in the European Regulators Group for Audiovisual Media Services.

As Commissioner Jourová, as I and as Commissioner Gabriel have said on a number of occasions, should the results prove unsatisfactory we think that we need to look – or be ready to look – at further actions, including, if necessary, the possibility of regulation.

Indeed there have already been a number of proposals, legislative and otherwise, put forward in various Member States. For example the UK Government has set out its intentions in the Online Harms White Paper, while in France there’s a push for a framework to make platforms more accountable.

We encourage the Member States in these efforts and stand ready to assist where we can.

Fourth and finally, we have worked to empower citizens, including by promoting, as we’ve heard, media literacy and increasing awareness across society on the positive impact of EU policies, Union values, to strengthen our citizens’ resilience against the negative effects of disinformation.

Overall I think I’d have to say that we’ve done some good work. We’ve come some way, but frankly there remains a lot still to be done, which is why, like Věra Jourová, I’m very pleased to see that the incoming Commission, the incoming President-elect, have underlined the importance of this work. In addition to the point that’s already been mentioned, if confirmed it’s in the programme, the President-elect has said that she wants to bring forward legislation for a coordinated European approach on the human and ethical implications of AI, which would be very relevant to this debate, and she’s proposed a new digital services act to upgrade liability and safety rules for digital platforms, services and products – again, very relevant to this debate.

And these efforts, combined with the others that we have been discussing, are going to be absolutely key if we are to ensure a prosperous, safe and democratic digital future for all our citizens.



  Tomas Tobé, on behalf of the PPE Group. – Mr President, this debate is about fundamental European values. It’s about the rule of law, freedom and our democratic elections. I think it’s very important that this Parliament, after this debate, comes together with a very strong resolution.

It’s very important that in Europe we stand up for free and democratic elections without interference from foreign states. Unfortunately, that is not the situation in Europe today and I think it’s important that the European Parliament is not afraid to talk very clearly about this. It is very well known that Russia in particular is conducting a low intense information war against Europe. Their state—sponsored media and their troll factories try to undermine democratic debates in Europe. But we also see other totalitarian states, such as China, Iran and North Korea, trying to weaken our democratic decision—making. I think it is important that we try to defend our values and make sure that, if you are aggressive towards our democratic institutions, there must also be consequences.

In this plenary we disagree a lot. It’s called democracy. It is OK to disagree, but I think it’s very important that we agree that if we leave democratic decision—making open to foreign interference, we will also lose our self—determination. So I think it’s important that we come together in a common resolution in the coming weeks and stand up for European values.


  Kati Piri, on behalf of the S&D Group. – Mr President, in a democracy, fair and free elections are crucial and yet, unfortunately, they are not self—evident and cannot be taken for granted.

In recent years, millions of Europeans have been exposed to massive disinformation campaigns during election time as a result of foreign interference. Cyber—attacks have risen to an unprecedented level, with dangerous access to strategic infrastructure and data. Crucial electoral rules on the financing of political parties by third countries have been either breached or circumvented. In July, Italian media revealed a plan by Russians to fund Matteo Salvini’s League. That is only the latest incident and, as we know, this goes well beyond just Russia or just Italy.

This House was vocal on the issue of interference during the last parliamentary term and so was the European External Action Service and the Commission. I am happy to hear that the Finnish Presidency is also taking it up as one of its priorities.

I’m proud that the S&D Group managed to gain widespread political support for this important topic to be on the agenda this week. I’m also pleased to hear that there is widespread support for seeking a strong resolution: we need serious answers on how to prevent third parties from undermining our democratic systems. To address this challenge effectively, my Group proposes to establish a special parliamentary committee so that European democracy, in which elections are always free and fair, is and remains self—evident and once again can be taken for granted.


  Pascal Durand, au nom du groupe Renew. – Monsieur le Président, Madame la Ministre, vous avez commencé votre intervention en expliquant et en vous réjouissant que les élections européennes s’étaient bien passées et qu’il n’y avait pas eu d’attaque à ce moment-là – et je me réjouis effectivement que les élections européennes se soient bien passées.

Cela étant, les élections en général, et les élections européennes en particulier, ne sont pas toute la démocratie. Et ce que M. King et Mme Jourová ont très bien expliqué, c’est que notre démocratie, telle que nous la concevons en Europe, est en danger. Elle est en danger, effectivement, à cause des phénomènes de désinformation que vous avez notés et que vous avez eu raison de relever, Monsieur le Commissaire. Mais elle est également en danger à travers les financements des partis politiques – cela vient d’être évoqué et il est très important de le dire –, c’est-à-dire du socle de la démocratie en Europe.

Nous savons que des puissances étrangères qui ne veulent pas de bien à l’Union européenne – nous avons parlé de la Russie, il n’y a pas que la Russie, mais la Russie, c’est clair, c’est établi, c’est défini – ont financé, à hauteur d’un milliard d’euros, des éléments d’information, des financements de nos partis politiques, essentiellement ceux qui veulent détruire l’Union européenne et qui se retrouvent à l’extrême droite de cet hémicycle, aussi bien en Italie qu’en France ou ailleurs.

Nous devons donc effectivement combattre le financement des partis politiques et la résolution est très importante. Nous devons nous donner les moyens et donner les moyens à StratCom, qui dispose de trois millions d’euros par an. Trois millions d’euros... cinq millions – cela a été augmenté, vous avez raison, Monsieur le Commissaire, de le relever –, mais face à un milliard. Soyons sérieux, donnons-nous les moyens de pouvoir agir sur les éléments de désinformation. Donnons-nous les moyens d’interdire les financements étrangers de notre démocratie européenne et de nos partis politiques, et donnons-nous les moyens d’une indépendance technologique.

Parce que si nous devons systématiquement nous tourner vers l’extra-Union européenne pour pouvoir contrôler, nous allons au-devant d’une difficulté majeure: celle de l’indépendance et de notre capacité à agir.


  Reinhard Bütikofer, im Namen der Verts/ALE-Fraktion. – Herr Präsident, verehrte Ratspräsidentschaft, Herr Kommissar, werte Kolleginnen und Kollegen! Ich möchte mich bei der finnischen Ratspräsidentschaft ausdrücklich dafür bedanken, dass Sie dieses Thema so ernst nehmen. Ich möchte mich auch bei der Kommission dafür bedanken, dass Sie sich diesem Thema so intensiv widmen. Das Europa, das schützt, muss in allererster Linie seine eigenen Werte und das heißt auch, seine Demokratie, schützen und die europäische Souveränität. Darum geht es in dieser Auseinandersetzung.

Wir müssen nicht nur in eine Richtung umsichtig und vorsichtig sein. Es gibt nicht nur aus Russland nachgewiesenermaßen Einmischungsversuche, es gibt solche auch von Herrn Erdoğan aus der Türkei. Die totalitäre Führung Chinas möchte gerne ökonomische Abhängigkeiten ausnutzen, und auch reaktionäre Kreise aus den USA haben schon versucht, sich in die europäische Demokratie zu unserem Nachteil einzumischen. Ich glaube, es ist ein Teil einer großen Auseinandersetzung zwischen einer sich entwickelnden autoritären Internationalen und dem internationalen Eintreten für Demokratie.

Damit wir das nicht verlieren, dürfen wir aber nicht nur darauf sehen, welche anderen sich bei uns einmischen wollen, sondern wir müssen selber dafür sorgen, dass in Europa keine Spaltungslinien entstehen, die durch andere ausgenützt werden können – das gehört auch zu dieser Verteidigung unserer Demokratie und Souveränität.


  Marco Campomenosi, a nome del gruppo ID. – Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, il discorso di oggi è abbastanza surreale. Alcuni riferimenti fatti all'inizio sull'importanza della cibersicurezza ci vedono favorevoli: è un tema importantissimo, pensiamo alla NATO, a Israele, a che ruolo possono avere in questo senso.

Tuttavia qui c'è qualcuno che forse fa finta di poter continuare a portare avanti quel gioco che vi ha trincerato dietro i vostri nove voti di maggioranza per la signora von der Leyen, perché chi parla di fake news siete voi, o meglio chi le diffonde siete esattamente voi. Spesso tanti di questi casi che citate sono stati smentiti dagli stessi media che li avevano tirati fuori, per non parlare di quanto avvenuto in Italia, ovvero non è avvenuto assolutamente nulla e avremo presto certezza anche di questo, ci sono dei tribunali che faranno chiarezza.

Ma cosa c'è dietro a questa vostra necessità? C'è la scusa per poter magari ingabbiare Internet, frenare la libertà di Internet – l'abbiamo visto con l'assurdo dibattito sulla direttiva sul copyright, sul finire della scorsa legislatura. Perché? Perché voi non comprendete più i cittadini, non comprendete più gli elettori. Quindi c'è un voto sulla Brexit e vi sorprende, c'è un voto sulle presidenziali americane e vi sorprende, c'è un voto per il Parlamento europeo che vede raddoppiare le nostre forze e non capite come mai. Perché? Perché siete chiusi qua dentro e non avete alcun rapporto con la realtà dei fatti.

Del resto sono i vostri documenti, questo è l'Ufficio di presidenza di questo Parlamento: nel 2018 avete stanziato 33,3 milioni di euro per – voi sì! – influenzare le elezioni europee. Dite che non bisogna solo portare gli elettori ai seggi ma anche convincerli a sostenere il progetto europeo, che dà un senso allo stesso Parlamento europeo. Da che pulpito potete parlare di ingerenze esterne!


  Nicola Procaccini, a nome del gruppo ECR. – Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, condivido pienamente il senso di questa risoluzione. Tuttavia non condivido questa ricerca ossessiva, direi compulsiva, da parte del Parlamento europeo di un nemico. Questo è qualcosa che non comprendo.

Mi spiego: io ritengo che sia necessario difendere la nostra sicurezza democratica, sociale ed economica con infrastrutture migliori e con strumenti legislativi migliori – penso anche alla rivoluzione del 5G, che sta arrivando e che chiaramente va governata con grande attenzione, selezionando bene gli interlocutori economici. Dicevo però che, se comprendo il merito di questa risoluzione, fatico a comprendere il metodo, perché ritengo sia molto più importante concentrare la nostra attenzione sul potenziamento delle agenzie europee competenti in questa materia piuttosto che non divagare nella ricerca compulsiva di nemici contro cui scagliarsi politicamente.


  Mick Wallace, on behalf of the GUE/NGL Group. – Mr President, Liberals – the centre right and left – struggle to believe that they are losing segments of elections to the far right and, much like the Democrats in the US, are more interested in endlessly talking about Russian interference than addressing their own failings. The real electoral interference in the US was the Democratic Party stealing the election from Bernie Sanders and putting forward a figure that made Trump sound OK.

The real source of the swing to the right in Europe is not outside interference. It’s a decade of crushing austerity, the neo—liberalisation of the labour sector, the rise of inequality and the theft of the economic resources of the global south through financial imperialism, coupled with our imperialist military campaigns that create the conditions that drive people out of their homes looking for a liveable existence.

America has been meddling and interfering in other countries’ elections and democratic processes for over a hundred years and has done so in a ruthless and brutal manner that makes the alleged Russian interference in the 2016 elections in America look like child’s play.


  Miroslav Radačovský (NI). – Vážený pán predsedajúci, po vypočutí si a po preštudovaní správ ohľadom dezinformácií a hybridných vojen som nadobudol dojem, akoby sme mali všetci obliecť uniformy, nasadnúť do lietadiel, zaútočiť na Moskvu.

Nepovažujem za správne, že by tak v tejto správe, ako aj v iných správach, sa za primárneho nepriateľa Európskej únie považovalo za Rusko. Rozdeľovanie Európy na Východ a Západ je neprípustné, je to cesta do pekla. Európania nie sú čerti, Európania sú homo sapiens. Už veľkí ľudia Európy – Charles de Gaulle, Michail Gorbačov, Ján Pavol II – hovorili o Európe od Uralu k la Manchu. Rozdeľovanie Európy sankciami, raketami je neprípustné. Je neprípustné a pamätajme na históriu. Milióny umučených Židov v koncentračných táboroch, milióny umučených Slovanov, to bolo dôvodom delenia Európy na Východ a Západ. Európsky dom je jeden a spoločný. Takéto správy sú neprípustné, pretože sú pre militantov, militantne naladených ľudí a viete, k čomu to v histórii viedlo.


  Karoline Edtstadler (PPE). – Herr Präsident, Herr Kommissar! Der Versuch der Einflussnahme auf Entscheidungen und Wahlen in der Europäischen Union ist kein Phänomen mehr, das wir rein den Science-Fiction-Romanen zuschreiben könnten. Nach Wahlmanipulationen in den USA und auch in Frankreich ist dieses Phänomen nunmehr auch in Österreich angekommen. Erst vor wenigen Wochen hat ein Hackerangriff auf die Zentrale der Österreichischen Volkspartei stattgefunden. Eine unvorstellbare Datenmenge von 1,3 Gigabyte wurde gestohlen und jedenfalls teilweise weitergegeben – und das nur wenige Wochen vor den Wahlen zum Nationalrat.

Essenziell ist natürlich eine lückenlose und rasche Aufklärung. Die politischen Gegner haben tatsächlich die Echtheit dieses Angriffs bezweifelt. Für die hochspezialisierten Ermittler der Polizei steht aber mittlerweile fest, dass es sich um einen groß angelegten und professionellen Hackerangriff handelt. Erste Spuren führen zu ausländischen Servern. Für mich ist klar, dass parteitaktisches Kalkül hintanzustellen ist, wenn es um einen derart schweren Eingriff geht. Es geht nämlich hier nicht nur um einen Angriff auf die Österreichische Volkspartei, sondern auf die Demokratie im Ganzen.

Desinformation verhindert eine freie Willensbildung und gefährdet damit eine demokratische Wahlentscheidung. Daher halte ich die heutige Debatte und die demnächst zu entscheidende und beschließende Entschließung für so wesentlich, denn es gilt jetzt, hier europäische Lösungen zu finden, um unsere Wahlen vor derart kriminellen Machenschaften zu schützen. Es geht um nichts Geringeres als um unsere Grundwerte, um unseren way of life in Europa. Diesen müssen wir mit aller Vehemenz und mit allen Mitteln verteidigen.


  Brando Benifei (S&D). – Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, aumentano le indagini giudiziarie e le inchieste giornalistiche sull'esistenza di influenze straniere, in particolare della Russia, ma non solo, dietro campagne mirate a inquinare il dibattito elettorale e i processi democratici in Europa.

Pensiamo al caso del Front National nel 2014, all'FPO austriaco e, da ultimo, all'inchiesta sui finanziamenti russi per la campagna elettorale della Lega in Italia, su cui Matteo Salvini non ha ancora riferito in Parlamento, dopo aver mentito ripetutamente sui suoi rapporti con il faccendiere Gianluca Savoini e senza aver fornito tutte le informazioni neppure al governo di cui faceva parte, come ha riferito il presidente del Consiglio Conte.

Faremo piena chiarezza sui tentativi di destabilizzazione dell'Europa. Oggi alcuni politici europei fungono da esecutori nazionali di queste manovre, parlano da rappresentanti del popolo ma sono dei passacarte di potenze straniere, dei burattini. Non permetteremo più a questi nemici della nostra sovranità, a Marine Le Pen o a Matteo Salvini, di mentire ai cittadini e di lavorare contro gli interessi degli europei. La misura è colma!

Questo Parlamento deve dare mandato a una commissione speciale che indaghi sui tentativi di influenzare i processi democratici in Europa per difendere il diritto dei cittadini a un dibattito pubblico ed elettorale libero da ingerenze, perché chi è complice ora dovrà rendere conto a quest'Aula e a tutti gli europei, finalmente!


  Dragoș Tudorache (Renew). – Domnule președinte, aș vrea să mulțumesc în primul rând doamnei comisar Jourová și domnului comisar King pentru intervențiile de mai devreme și, în general, aș vrea să salut eforturile Comisiei Europene de a contracara ingerințele externe în alegerile europene din 26 mai. Democrațiile noastre depind de credibilitatea proceselor electorale și de aceea trebuie să ne pregătim cu măsuri eficiente pentru a gestiona riscurile evidente pe care le avem.

Susțin întru totul intervenția colegului meu Durand de mai înainte, care cerea creșterea finanțării alocate structurilor pe care le-am creat pentru a se contrapune forțelor externe care investesc sistematic și proactiv pentru a ne șubrezi coeziunea politică la nivel național și la nivel european. Comisarul King ne avertiza săptămâna trecută în LIBE că numărul de activități de dezinformare pro-Kremlin s-a dublat anul acesta comparativ cu aceeași perioadă a anului trecut.

Mai mult, numărul net de conturi false de pe rețelele de socializare este în constantă creștere, ajungând anul acesta doar pe Facebook la 20 de milioane. Salut pe această cale inițiativa Comisiei de a aduce giganții IT la aceeași masă. Aștept cu interes evaluarea de la sfârșitul acestui an și aștept propuneri legislative.


  Terry Reintke (Verts/ALE). – Mr President, we live in stable, resilient, liberal democracies. Ten years ago, I would probably have signed a statement like this for all members of the European Union and I would have believed that this is something that, in the course of my lifetime, was not going to change.

Today, I would honestly be more cautious about this statement. Yes, we still live in stable, resilient democracies, but honestly these democracies are under attack. Disinformation is being spread, scapegoating, for example, minorities and marginalised groups. There are smear campaigns against, for example, sexual and reproductive rights or the Istanbul Convention, partly funded through very blurry channels with money from abroad, not only Russia, but also, for example, the United States.

These tactics are already showing their consequences. They are destabilising our democratic decision-making processes. We have to stand up for our rights and our democracies through empowering civil society, but also through taking steps to defend our discussion space without at the same time undermining the very basis of our democracies, which is freedom of speech.



  Laura Huhtasaari (ID). – Arvoisa puhemies, EU:n tulisi vahvistaa sananvapauttaan, jos olemme oikeasti demokratian puolella. On selvää, että Venäjän ohella myös Yhdysvallat ja Kiina haluavat vaikuttaa omalla tavallaan eurooppalaisiin vaaleihin. Muutama vuosi sitten Obama kävi kiristämässä brittejä kauppasopimuksilla, jotta eivät äänestäisi väärin. Kiristys ei onnistunut.

On äänestäjien aliarvioimista väittää, että brexit, Trumpin valinta ja lukuisten kansallismielisten puolueiden voitto johtuisi salaliittoteorioista, vihasta, Venäjästä ja sometrolleista. Voitto johtuu siitä, että kansa aidosti haluaa lopettaa haitallisen maahanmuuton, pysäyttää islamisaation, he haluavat puolustaa kansallisvaltioiden itsemääräämisoikeutta, rajojaan, kulttuuria ja kristillisiä arvoja. He haluavat laittaa oman kansan ensin. Riippumatta siitä, ovatko nämä edellä mainitut asiat valtavirtapuolueiden mielestä hyviä vai huonoja asioita, niin sen takia meitä kansallismielisiä puolueita äänestetään. Ja oikea syy ja tarve tälle keskustelulle täällä tänään on se, että liberaalit häviävät vaaleja, ettekä te suostu hyväksymään sitä, että kansallismielisiä puolueita äänestetään oikeiden asioiden takia. Siksi te EU:ssa haluatte lähteä sensuurin tielle. Te haluatte sellaisen poliittisesti korrektin totuuskomission, joka ennakkosensuroi. Näin saadaan kerrottua kansalle, mitä heidän tulee ajatella ja tahtoa. Demokratia ei ole kriisissä eikä demokratia kuole, jos liberaalit häviävät vaaleja.


  Anna Fotyga (ECR). – Mr President, with due respect to all measures taken within the portfolios of Commissioner Jourová and Commissioner King, I would like to stress that we discuss the external aspect of EU relations, namely foreign interference into our democratic processes.

Yes, we have to strengthen resilience and further build democracies, but we have to know the policies of external actors. During the eighth legislature we presented reports on this, naming predominantly the Russian Federation, but also actors like China, Iran and North Korea. Their actions, a low intensive information war, are many times tailored-made – cut and made – vis-à-vis each Member State. So building our cooperation is very important. Yet in order to act successfully, we have to know narrative policies, I would like to praise East StratCom, located within the European External Action Service (EEAS).


  Alexandra Lesley Phillips (NI). – Mr President, online payment systems, social media and informal campaigns do indeed open doors to people who want to abuse democracy across the political spectrum, but something else is also afoot: an appetite to spread conspiracy for political ends and a desire to delegitimise election results because the loser doesn’t consent.

I have seen both Leave campaigns for Brexit face numerous court cases and accusations long since debunked. A young campaigner in the UK was threatened with prison for two years before charges were dropped. My own party, at the whim of an embittered ex-Prime Minister claiming we received foreign money, had our offices raided, only for that investigation to be terminated because no evidence was found. The list goes on.

It’s patently clear to me that the biggest threat to democracy is opportunism and the gender-driven conspiracy by politicians themselves to discredit campaigns that they don’t favour. It’s irresponsible, it’s feckless and it creates mistrust between the voter and the result, laying fertile ground for extremism. Like the boy who cried wolf before calling foul, check your facts or you become the problem, not the solution.

(The speaker agreed to take a blue-card question under Rule 171(8))


  Julie Ward (S&D), blue-card question. – Would Ms Phillips please comment on the secret campaign work she did for the disgraced data-mining and campaigns consultancy Cambridge Analytica during the Kenyan presidential election in 2017, for which I was an election observer for this Parliament, and also comment on the subsequent lies she told about her involvement in that?

Cambridge Analytica was hired by President Kenyatta’s governing Jubilee Party prior to the campaign which reignited tribal divisions in the country, resulting in dozens of politically motivated killings and the mysterious torture and murder of Chris Msando, the head of IEBC, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission...

(The President cut off the speaker)


  Alexandra Lesley Phillips (NI), blue-card answer. – My colleague is embodying exactly what I have just said. I worked for a British consultancy as a freelance contractor, which she well knows later folded into the American company Cambridge Analytica.

It is funny; she could contact me in person to ask about this rather than taking her information from conspiracy theories on Twitter and FBPE hashtag people who want to stir up misinformation. I am proud of the work I did for a progressive African president. That work is on record with the European Parliament. And, can I just say, if that is not for political ends, why didn’t she knock on my office door?


  Андрей Ковачев (PPE). – Г-н Председател, демокрацията предполага и поощрява свободата, толерантността и плурализма на мненията. Когато обаче имаме опит за подмяна на демокрацията с други авторитарни форми на управление или промяна на геополитическата ориентация на една суверенна държава, границата на търпимост явно е прекрачена.

Парадоксално е, че неограничената толерантност рано или късно води до изчезването на толерантността. Аз тук бих задал парадоксалния може би въпрос: ако гласуваме в този Парламент дали демокрацията означава свобода да лъжеш или лъжата не е част от свободата на мнение, какъв ли би бил резултатът?

Ние не трябва да сме наивни и трябва ясно да осъзнаваме сериозността от заплахите от трети страни. България е само една от страните, които през 2015 година по време на последните местни избори беше атакувана, бяха атакувани сайтовете на Централната избирателна комисия и на други ключови по отношение на изборите институции.

Но това далеч не изчерпва само дестабилизационните опити на трети страни в нашите общества да забият клин в единството на Европейския съюз. В моята страна стотици анонимни сайтове без ясна собственост, организации без ясно финансиране, хиляди фалшиви профили в социалните мрежи водят координирана информационна война срещу Европейския съюз, злоупотребяват с най-чувствителните теми за хората, като религия, традиции и ценности.

Демокрацията трябва да има инструменти да се защити. Приветствам и призовавам за сериозни ресурси за защита и преодоляване на този тип хибридни заплахи.

Ораторът се съгласява да отговори на въпрос по процедурата "синя карта" (член 171, параграф 8 от Релгамента)


  Maria Grapini (S&D), Întrebare adresată conform procedurii „cartonașului albastru”. – Stimate coleg, veniți din Bulgaria, eu vin din România. Sigur că înțeleg perfect ce ați spus. Tema este foarte importantă. Întrebarea mea este: ca europarlamentar vechi, vedeți soluții în a rezolva problema pusă în discuție? Pe de altă parte, libertatea de exprimare, eliminarea interferenței în actul electoral. Care ar fi propunerile dumneavoastră concrete pentru a putea să le și adoptăm, pentru că dacă dezbatem și nu găsim și soluții înseamnă că ne vom regăsi în aceeași situație și anul viitor.


  Andrey Kovatchev (PPE), blue-card answer. – Yes, this is a general question about what we are going do together. Only with coordinated actions, together with the Commission, the Council and the Member States, can we achieve some limitation of this disinformation campaign from third countries, but also from inside the European Union. The right step forward is to ask the platforms to follow codes of conduct, to support good objective journalism, for journalists to have professional training on this, and many things, but we also need resources. Democracy needs to have an immune system.


  Claude Moraes (S&D). – Mr President, today we call for tougher action at European level to defend our elections against foreign interference and manipulation and to win the fight against offline and online disinformation.

We are doing so because the facts indicate that it is actually happening. And I should indicate to everyone in the House, including new Members, that we have been doing this for some months now. The Commissioner indicated that action is already being taken, the Presidency is joining us, and what we in our group want to happen today is a call for a special committee to deepen this action. We are doing this because our Member States are not resilient enough. We have two big problems, which in the next few seconds I will explain.

Our citizens are voting in elections where we have far—right parties – I see it in my own country – who are being funded and receiving loans from foreign state actors. Secondly, we have deep electoral interference. Offline electoral safeguards are needed, and the banning of profiling for electoral purposes, social media platforms shared by bots need to be removed and fake accounts need to be removed. These practical actions need to happen and need to happen now.


  Michal Šimečka (Renew). – Vážený pán predseda, naozaj zasahovanie zahraničných aktérov do demokratických volieb dnes už nie je nič nové, nie je to nová hrozba, už sme niekoľko zažili takých volieb, do ktorých zasiahli tieto dezinformačné kampane s cieľom rozdeliť spoločnosť, polarizovať ju a ovplyvniť tým preferencie voličov.

To neznamená, že to môžeme akceptovať a ja som rád, že aj fínske predsedníctvo, aj Komisia sa s tým chystá ďalej pracovať. Lebo naozaj je to niečo, čo ohrozuje samotnú podstatu demokracie, pretože bez zmysluplnej debaty, diskusie opierajúcej sa o fakty neexistuje žiadna demokracia. Zároveň ale treba povedať, že to skutočné riziko nie je iba zopár konšpiračných webov alebo ruské peniaze, ale aj politici, ktorí účelovo s dezinformáciami pracujú, využívajú tieto taktiky a túto emóciu, či v mojom regióne, v strednej Európe sú dokonca niektorí aj premiéri, ktorí verejne opakujú konšpirácie, pracujú s nimi a útočia na politických súperov, alebo menšiny, alebo Európsku úniu, a to je ešte toxickejšie pre demokraciu.


  Scott Ainslie (Verts/ALE). – Mr President, freedom, fairness and transparency: these are the foundations on which democracy is built. But in recent years these principles have come under attack. Big money and the digital age have particularly fuelled the far right, unleashing propaganda campaigns that have no place in a modern, inclusive and progressive society.

Electoral interference and disinformation have poisoned our political discussions. Groups have spread messages of hatred with the aim of dividing our communities and eroding trust in our political systems. These untruths have plunged my country into a constitutional crisis, putting the rights and well-being of millions of people in the UK and beyond on the line.

The Chair of the House of Commons Digital Culture, Media and Sport Committee has said that – I quote – ‘our democracy is at risk and our electoral regulations are hopelessly out of date for the internet age’, and this from the so-called Mother of all Parliaments.

We can’t sit in this elected chamber and turn a blind eye as the very fundamental values of this institution and all our parliaments back home come under siege from characters who want to disrupt our democracies for their own political or financial gain. We need more robust, legally binding protections so that citizens are empowered to decide their own fates, not external powers or those with the deepest pockets.


(The speaker declined to take a blue-card question from Belinda De Lucy)


  Jean-Paul Garraud (ID). – Monsieur le Président, le code de bonnes pratiques contre la désinformation établi par la Commission se veut attentif à la liberté d’expression et à un internet ouvert. C’est ce qui est écrit dans le texte.

Ce code de bonne conduite a été approuvé par Facebook, Twitter, Google. Ces hébergeurs sont tenus pour responsables du contenu des publications des internautes. Ils n’hésitent donc pas à censurer les propos pouvant être considérés comme de la désinformation.

Nous savons tous que l’internet est en quelque sorte capable du meilleur comme du pire. Sauf qu’en l’occurrence, sous prétexte de lutter contre la désinformation, on ne compte plus le nombre considérable d’internautes qui ont été censurés d’une minute à l’autre et sans aucun avertissement parce qu’ils avaient propagés, non pas des « fake news », mais parce qu’ils avaient émis des opinions divergentes et critiques vis-à-vis, en particulier, de l’idéologie européiste et immigrationniste de la Commission.

Même des journaux d’information sont censurés comme, en France, Valeurs actuelles, à l’encontre duquel Facebook a supprimé autoritairement un article relatant la propagande de la télévision publique française en faveur des migrants au motif que son contenu était soi-disant haineux.

L’enfer est toujours pavé de bonnes intentions, les meilleures pensées peuvent conduire aux pires résultats. En voulant lutter contre les fausses informations, il ne faut surtout pas aboutir à l’instauration d’une sorte de ministère de la vérité tel que défini par George Orwell dans son roman « 1984 ».

En 2019, la tentation est grande pour les tenants du système en place, adeptes de la mondialisation et de ses considérables moyens financiers, de stopper par tous les moyens la montée de ce qu’ils appellent avec dédain, les populistes. La censure des moyens de communication est utilisée depuis la nuit des temps par tous les régimes totalitaires. Pour les tenants de l’idéologie mondialiste, tous ceux qui s’opposent à elle doivent être bloqués.

Ici même, dans ce Parlement, un « cordon sanitaire » a été employé pour écarter de toute responsabilité tous les députés défiant cette idéologie. Malgré tout, nous poursuivrons notre combat en lien avec les aspirations profondes des peuples que nous, nous respectons!


  Jorge Buxadé Villalba (ECR). – Señor presidente, como ustedes saben, el partido al que representó —Vox— está radicalmente en contra de cualquier injerencia extranjera en los asuntos internos de nuestro país. Nosotros creemos —obviamente— en la soberanía de las naciones y de los Estados miembros, y me alegro de que, aunque sea por una sola vez, en este Parlamento, otras opciones políticas vengan a defender la soberanía y considerar que la misma es intocable. Aunque sí quiero poner de manifiesto que, hasta que se demuestre lo contrario, en el Tratado de la Unión Europea no se habla de la soberanía europea, sino exclusivamente de la soberanía de los Estados miembros.

Como a muchos de ustedes, a nosotros no nos gusta que Rusia pueda enredar en procesos electorales, pero tampoco nos gusta que el señor Macron o 52 diputados de la Asamblea Nacional francesa enreden en las decisiones electorales que se adoptan en España, decidiendo apoyar o criticar a uno u otro país, a uno u otro partido de mi país.

Señorías, no nos gustan las injerencias extranjeras, pero tampoco queremos que esto sea la excusa para la creación de una comisión de la verdad, como esa de Orwell en 1984 y que nos digan desde instituciones supranacionales aquello que debe o no ser dicho por los nacionales de cada uno de los Estados.


  Jérôme Rivière (ID). – Monsieur le Président, nous sommes dans cette Assemblée à l'instant pour faire un débat sur les fausses nouvelles, à l'instant, vous venez d'indiquer que les membres du parti Brexit feraient partie du groupe Identité et démocratie. Ça n'est pas le cas. Je crois qu'avant tout, pour ne pas débattre de fausses nouvelles, nous devrions faire attention à nous respecter nous-même. À aucun moment ces parlementaires ne sont dans notre groupe et donc je considère comme un déni de démocratie de ne pas avoir donné l'occasion d'accepter ou non le carton bleu.


  Der Präsident. – Herr Kollege! Über die blauen Karten entscheidet der Präsident. Es gibt klare Regeln für den Ablauf der blauen Karten. Daher habe ich sie abgelehnt.


  Jeroen Lenaers (PPE). Voorzitter, vrije en eerlijke verkiezingen zijn het fundament van onze democratie. Die moeten we koesteren en beschermen. Eenieder die probeert dat fundament aan te tasten moeten we keihard aanpakken. En we zullen een tandje bij moeten schakelen als we voorbereid willen zijn op een toekomst waarin onze sociale interactie nog meer dan nu online zal plaatsvinden. Op een toekomst waarin het met nieuwe technologie zoals deep fakes steeds moeilijker wordt om echt van nep te onderscheiden en een toekomst waarin – als we niks doen – in 2021 al mensen meer nepnieuws dan echt nieuws zullen consumeren.

Er staat nogal wat op het spel en bedrijven als Facebook en Google spelen daarbij een cruciale rol. Of beter gezegd, ze zouden een cruciale rol moeten spelen. Want ik heb niet het gevoel dat die samenwerking op dit moment van harte gaat. Het doet mij een klein beetje denken aan de manier waarop ik vroeger op school mijn huiswerk deed: precies genoeg om geen strafwerk te krijgen, maar zeker niet meer dan dat. Daar kom je misschien bij wiskunde op de middelbare school mee weg, maar in onze strijd tegen desinformatie zullen we tekortschieten.

Daarom is mijn vraag: moeten we niet veel duidelijker dat strafwerk in het vooruitzicht stellen, willen we dat die bedrijven meewerken? Zouden we niet toe moeten naar een systeem van regulering, in plaats van de huidige halfslachtige zelfregulering? Mijn vraag is ook, commissaris King, u merkte dat al op: in veel Europese landen wordt wetgeving gemaakt, wordt over wetgeving nagedacht. Hoe zorgen we er nou voor dat die wetgeving ook op elkaar afgestemd is, zodat we niet met 28 verschillende regels in 28 verschillende landen te maken hebben?


  Pedro Silva Pereira (S&D). – Senhor Presidente, a manipulação da opinião pública, através da circulação de notícias falsas nas redes sociais, com meios cada vez mais sofisticados e dissimulados, é uma das mais sérias ameaças às nossas democracias e um instrumento de obscuros interesses políticos, por vezes sediados no estrangeiro.

O plano contra a desinformação da Comissão Europeia está a dar os primeiros passos e é uma boa iniciativa. Tal como as plataformas gestoras de redes sociais precisam de ser chamadas às suas responsabilidades, e os jornalistas devem cumprir o seu papel de informar com rigor e denunciar as informações falsas, estas ameaças requerem uma resposta à altura das circunstâncias, e neste Parlamento precisamos também de uma comissão especial que nos permita reforçar a defesa da nossa democracia. É o que prevê este relatório e é por isso que votaremos a favor.


  Fabienne Keller (Renew). – Monsieur le Président, Mesdames et Messieurs les Commissaires, vous l'avez évoqué les dernières élections ont fait l'objet de tentatives de déstabilisation, d'ingérence d'acteurs étatiques et non étatiques – plusieurs collègues en ont parlé – sans précédent.

Monsieur Julian King, vous avez rappelé qu'il y avait plusieurs dizaines de milliers de faux comptes à l'appui de vastes campagnes de désinformation. Madame Věra Jourová, Monsieur Julian King, vous avez pris une initiative en septembre 2018 avec les États membres pour armer l'Europe contre la désinformation et la cybercriminalité mais cela n'est pas suffisant.

Quelles sont les prochaines étapes, les prochaines initiatives pour renforcer la convergence des stratégies nationales? Comment renforcer aussi le rôle et les moyens de l'Agence européenne de cybersécurité pour créer un bouclier européen? Enfin, notre groupe soutient la création d'une agence européenne de protection des démocraties contre les attaques. Êtes-vous prêts à soutenir une telle initiative?


  Jérôme Rivière (ID). – Monsieur le Président, loin de moi l’idée de vouloir revenir sur les prérogatives du président de séance, mais vous avez fondé explicitement votre décision de refuser le carton bleu sur le fait que ce parlementaire appartenait à notre groupe.

Admettez au moins qu’il s’agissait d’une erreur, sinon c’est encore une fois une fausse nouvelle alors que nous participons à un débat de lutte contre les fausses informations.


  Der Präsident. – Ich habe zu dieser Frage bereits Stellung genommen, und ich wurde darüber so informiert. Es kann ja auch sein, dass es sich bei der Fragenden um ein Missverständnis gehandelt hat. Aber gehen wir jetzt in der Tagesordnung weiter.


  Markéta Gregorová (Verts/ALE). – Mr President, disinformation campaigns, hybrid threats, information warfare: the modern conflict is being led in new fields, and liberal democracy and our free and fair elections are being used against us by foreign forces with an increasing intensity and efficiency. We must create a functional system of deterrence as part of our defensive strategy. However, we must remain equally wary of measures that can also destroy the very foundation of our democratic societies. Free speech cannot be defined by commercial monopolies. It is far too valuable to be defined by online platforms and upload filters. Lawmakers must be in the lead on combating election interference and propaganda. Equally, technologies that allow behavioural prediction and manipulation on a mass scale are threatening the very basis of free and fair elections, and we must update our legislation to safeguard European citizens but with regard to the very democratic principles we are trying to protect. Let’s finally step into the 21st century.


  Christine Anderson (ID). – Herr Präsident, werte Kollegen! Wir reden heute über den Aktionsplan der EU-Kommission gegen die Verbreitung von Desinformationen. Ist das eigentlich ein Witz? Ausgerechnet die EU-Kommission hält sich also für geeignet, Fake News bekämpfen zu wollen – ist sie doch das Hauptquartier aller Fake—News—Produktionsstätten! In der von der EU-Kommission herausgegebenen Broschüre „60 Gründe für die EU“ bekommen die europäischen Völker auf 64 Seiten eingetrichtert, welche Vorteile ihnen die EU und Euro bringen. So heißt es auf Seite 16: „Dank der Geldpolitik der EZB haben die Mitgliedstaaten im Jahr 2016 50 Milliarden Euro gespart.“ Das sind Fake News! Denn es ist eine bewusste Irreführung der europäischen Völker, um darüber hinwegzutäuschen, dass diese bejubelte Ersparnis in Wahrheit eine Enteignung ihrer Vermögen ist. Ist das ein tragischer Einzelfall? Nein, keineswegs.

Wenn Frau Kommissionspräsidentin in ihrer eigenen Agenda für Europa schreibt – und ich zitiere: „Für meine Generation stand Europa für das Versprechen von Frieden, Wohlstand und Einheit, und wir haben es durch unsere Gemeinschaftswährung, durch Freizügigkeit und Erweiterung Wirklichkeit werden lassen“, dann ist das die Mutter aller Fake—News—Kampagnen. Frieden und Wohlstand wurden uns versprochen. Erhalten haben wir die EU, ein bürokratisches Irrenhaus, in dem eine vom Bürger gänzlich entrückte Politelite die europäischen Völker durch Verordnungswahn und Regulierungswut gängelt und schikaniert.

Was die europäischen Völker von dieser tollen EU-Zwangsgemeinschaft halten, sieht man überall dort, wo man sie mal fragt: in Frankreich, in den Niederlanden, in Griechenland, und die Briten haben ihren besonderen Unmut zum Ausdruck gebracht. Aber der Aktionsplan der Kommission ist richtig und wichtig, deshalb werden wir es unterstützen und verhindern. Ich fange heute an!

(Die Rednerin zerreißt die Broschüre „Eine Union, die mehr erreichen will – Meine Agenda für Europa“.)

(Die Rednerin lehnt eine Frage nach dem Verfahren der „blauen Karte“ von Lukas Mandl ab.)


  Reinhard Bütikofer (Verts/ALE). – Herr Präsident! Zur Geschäftsordnung: Frau Anderson hat gerade dieses Haus „ein bürokratisches Irrenhaus“ genannt. Das ist eine Beleidigung des Europäischen Parlaments. Ich bitte Sie, das Protokoll zu studieren und entsprechend zu reagieren.


  Der Präsident. – Für diese Anregung und dass Sie das so aufmerkam beobachtet haben, vielen Dank, das wird in dieser Form geschehen.


  Charlie Weimers (ECR). – Herr talman! Utländsk inblandning i demokratiska processer är förkastligt. Det är förkastligt när Kreml försöker köpa inflytande genom europeiska partier, liksom när de anställer socialdemokratiska före detta regeringschefer för att lobba för exempelvis Nord Stream. Men det är också förkastligt när EU använder skattemedel för att påverka utfallet i Europaparlamentsvalet.

Det här läckta dokumentet från EU-parlamentets ledning visar hur man planerade att spendera 350 miljoner kronor för att exempelvis sponsra lobbygrupper och kampanjer som exempelvis "Det här gör EU för mig" i syfte att få EU-federalistiska väljare till valurnorna och förminska väljares inflytande om de föredrog nationalstat framför federalism. Så låt oss jobba emot otillbörlig inblandning i demokratiska processer. Men låt oss vara konsekventa.


  Radosław Sikorski (PPE). – Panie Przewodniczący! To moje inauguracyjne wystąpienie na tej sali, dlatego bardzo się cieszę, że przypadł mi tak ważny temat, bo sam byłem ofiarą grupy Fancy Bears. Dostałem te same maile, które potem dostał pan Podesta w Stanach Zjednoczonych, i wiemy, jaki to miało wpływ na tamtejszą kampanię wyborczą.

Padły tu już przykłady zewnętrznych ingerencji w politykę we Francji, w Wielkiej Brytanii, we Włoszech. Także w moim kraju niedawno ukazała się książka renomowanego dziennikarza, pana Grzegorza Rzeczkowskiego, pod tytułem „Obcym alfabetem”, i chciałem z tego miejsca zaapelować, aby nasza prokuratura w Polsce potraktowała poważnie te bardzo niepokojące informacje o zagranicznym ingerowaniu w polską politykę.

Co robić? Przede wszystkim czego nie robić? Uważam, że upolitycznianie mediów, które powinny być publiczne, upartyjnianie ich burzy zaufanie i ułatwia działanie tym, którzy chcą w nielegalny sposób wpływać na wybory. Powinniśmy zwiększyć budżet na walkę z dezinformacją, powinniśmy budować możliwości dla mediów tradycyjnych, a więc poprzeć program „Kreatywna Europa”, i wreszcie powinniśmy uregulować kwestię działalności mediów społecznościowych.


  Der Präsident. – Herr Kollege! Ich muss Sie bitten, von der Tribüne keine Beifallskundgebungen durchzuführen. Das ist mit der Geschäftsordnung dieses Hauses nicht vereinbar.


  Juan Fernando López Aguilar (S&D). – Señor presidente, comisario King, Presidencia finlandesa, si hace diez años, cuando entró en vigor el Tratado de Lisboa con la Carta de los Derechos Fundamentales de la Unión Europea, nos hubieran dicho que habría sido un objeto de debate prioritario para este Parlamento Europeo la amenaza de los troles, los bots, los actores no estatales o estatales y grupos no estatales vinculados a Estados, como es el caso de Rusia, contra los procesos democráticos a través de la interferencia y la intoxicación, no nos lo hubiéramos creído.

Pero la amenaza es real. Y no es neutra ni inocua ni puede ser subestimada. No es neutra, porque favorece la dispersión de discursos extremistas y populistas. No es inocua, porque se ensaña a menudo con minorías y grupos vulnerables. Y no puede ser subestimada, porque no afecta solo a los Estados miembros que la padecen, sino al conjunto de la Unión. Y es la Unión la que tiene que proveer la respuesta, con reglamentos y recursos adecuados.

Por eso exigimos inversiones para eliminar cuentas falsas y para articular una respuesta de significado europeo que fortalezca la democracia y el Estado de Derecho. Y el instrumento es una comisión especial que investigue a fondo y extraiga las consecuencias y las lecciones, y las traiga a esta Cámara como recomendaciones.


  Bernard Guetta (Renew). – Monsieur le Président, chers collègues, la liberté d’expression est le pilier de la démocratie, nous le savons tous. Mais son revers est connu: la désinformation, qui a pris une nouvelle ampleur grâce à la perversion d’internet et des médias sociaux.

Nous pourrions n’avoir encore vu que le début de ce phénomène, auquel il est urgent de s’opposer. Merci donc à la Commission d’avoir entamé la bataille. Mais comment contrôler la véracité de l’information sans renouer avec les bureaux de la censure? Nous marchons là sur des œufs, mais après tout, il y a longtemps que les démocraties ont appris à lutter contre la diffamation sans porter atteinte à la liberté d’expression.

La même tâche nous attend aujourd’hui: définir le délit et le sanctionner par la loi, qu’applique une justice indépendante. C’est là notre devoir de législateur. Mais les journalistes – j’en suis un – ont à réinventer, pour leur part, une presse dont les engagements, la vigueur et la clarté ne laissent ni place ni séduction aux déstabilisations organisées de l’étranger (ou pas).


  Annalisa Tardino (ID). – Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, siamo tutti concordi nel ritenere che le fake news e la disinformazione costituiscano un rischio concreto, capace di influenzare il convincimento dei cittadini in occasione delle competizioni elettorali da parte di chi è in costante campagna elettorale, così come si cerca di fare anche in quest'Aula, riproponendo notizie manipolate come quelle sui fondi russi, su cui si esprimeranno i tribunali.

Nel demonizzare l'avversario, come si usa purtroppo fare, si deve prestare molta attenzione a non ledere il grande valore democratico rappresentato dalla rete e dalla libera circolazione delle idee, fondamento della conoscenza e dell'emancipazione dell'uomo.

Sembra invece che la Commissione, con il pretesto di combattere la disinformazione, incoraggi ulteriormente comportamenti di censura delle opinioni dissenzienti, come già accade sui social network. Mi chiedo quindi se sia il caso che un operatore privato, come può essere Facebook, abbia l'autorità di censurare un cittadino senza intervento alcuno di un ente terzo pubblico in grado di proteggerlo. Credo che sia il caso di prendere dei seri provvedimenti.


  Lucia Ďuriš Nicholsonová (ECR). – Pán prezident, je úplne jedno z akej frakcie pochádzame. Myslím si, že pred nami všetkými leží tá istá úloha, a to je správne identifikovať, kto je ten agresor, kto sa opakovane uchyľuje k dezinformačným kampaniam, ktoré oslabujú demokracie v našich národných štátoch, ale aj v rámci Európskej únie. A všetci vieme, že tieto dezinformačné antikampane nevznikajú na Marse, ani v Bolívii, ani v Indii, a preto si myslím, že by sme sa mali držať faktov a tie fakty hovoria jednoznačne, že za týmito dezinformačnými kampaňami jednoznačne je Putinova administratíva, Rusko pod Putinovou administratívou. Napríklad, český tím expertov na boj proti hybridným hrozbám zverejnil čísla, že od roku 2014 až 16 volieb a referend v rámci Európskej únie bolo priamo ovplyvnených Putinovou administratívou, a to buď cez štátne média alebo cez rôznych trollov na sociálnych sieťach. Čo je horšie, tí trollovia sa nám dostávajú do našich národných vlád a do našich národných parlamentov.

A preto vás všetkých vyzývam, aby sme odložili politickú korektnosť a aby sme veľmi jasne pomenovali, že agresorom v tomto prípade, pokiaľ ide o dezinformácie, je Putinova administratíva.


  Vladimír Bilčík (PPE). –Mr President, hybrid warfare, and the spread of disinformation and fake news in particular, threaten our democratic institutions across Europe. We need free and fair elections, just like we need free and fair referendums, and since the bulk of political campaigns has moved to social media, we have to ensure that the internet is able to face up to the spread of disinformation timely and effectively. As just the most recent hybrid hacker attack on Austria illustrates, smaller European democracies are especially vulnerable to foreign interference in national elections and, I should add, the subsequent spread of disinformation as we see it in Austria today.

At the same time, smaller European democracies possess more limited resources to communicate effectively with global internet platforms about how best to fight against disinformation attacks. Therefore, in order to protect democracy across Europe, we need a strong and common European political approach in managing our communication and cooperation with social media in our struggle against disinformation campaigns. I therefore urge the Commission and also the Finnish Council Presidency to take up this issue seriously. We have to be united in this.


  Raphaël Glucksmann (S&D). – Monsieur le Président, chers collègues, oui, notre mode de vie démocratique est menacé, mais non, il n’est pas menacé par les exilés que nous laissons mourir en Méditerranée. Il est menacé par les forces qui s’ingèrent dans nos élections et dans nos débats publics.

Affaire Strache, en Autriche, affaire du financement de la Lega, en Italie, affaire Cambridge Analytica, affaire des banques russes du Front national... Toutes ces affaires montrent les liens financiers et les rapports de vassalité qu’entretient l’extrême- droite, ici présente, avec le régime de Vladimir Poutine. Elles montrent aussi la vulnérabilité de nos systèmes démocratiques face aux ingérences extérieures. Au lieu de nous inventer des ennemis imaginaires, traitons de cette menace bien réelle.

Voilà pourquoi je vous demande solennellement aujourd’hui, chers collègues, la mise en place de cette commission spéciale chargée de faire la lumière sur ces ingérences et leurs relais et de définir les moyens de les contrer. Il y va de la survie même de nos démocraties. Ne nous laissons plus marcher dessus, il est temps de réagir.


  Nils Torvalds (Renew). – Mr President, just before coming here I had a short exchange of views with Jessikka Aro. Jessikka Aro was the Finnish journalist who revealed what was actually going on behind the walls of a Russian address, 55 Savushkina Street in St Petersburg. What she experienced thereafter was something terrible because the family of trolls, Russian or their friends, actually tried to do something nobody in this House would like to experience, because they were trying to destroy her as a personality. She was too strong for that, but she had one question for you: give Interpol enough money to be able to fight this sort of criminal act.


  Zdzisław Krasnodębski (ECR). – Panie Przewodniczący! Ja myślę, że możemy się zgodzić, że ingerencja państw trzecich w wewnętrzne unijne procesy wyborcze przez dezinformację to jest wielkie zagrożenie dla procesu demokratycznego, dla podstawowych praw obywateli, dla wolności, rzetelnej informacji oraz dla suwerenności, przede wszystkim dla suwerenności państw członkowskich. Musimy się też zgodzić co do tego, że rzeczywiście nieprzypadkowo mówimy tu głównie o jednym państwie – o Rosji. I na pewno nie tylko państwa Unii Europejskiej, ale też państwa Partnerstwa Wschodniego padają ofiarą takich kampanii. Powinniśmy może im pomagać w walce z tego rodzaju dezinformacją.

Natomiast trzeba powiedzieć jeszcze dwie rzeczy. Po pierwsze – że oczywiście źródłem dezinformacji i „fake news” są również inne podmioty, inne państwa, podmioty niepaństwowe, a także państwa członkowskie i ich media próbujące ingerować w procesy demokratyczne krajów sąsiednich. Chciałem powiedzieć też jeszcze o jednym efekcie patologicznym, mianowicie, że dzisiaj wyraźnie widać to, że ci, którzy zwalczali teorię konspiracji, sami dzisiaj ulegają teoriom konspiracji. Widzą wszędzie Putina i jego trolli wtedy, kiedy mają do czynienia z wynikami wyborczymi, które nie odpowiadają ich gustom.


  Paulo Rangel (PPE). – Senhor Presidente, queria deixar claro essencialmente um ponto: o trabalho que temos de fazer contra a manipulação e a desinformação, nomeadamente nas questões eleitorais, não é um trabalho para se fazer só nas vésperas das eleições. É um trabalho contínuo, até porque a manipulação da opinião pública é muitas vezes feita com tempo e é feita com insistência nas redes sociais, nas plataformas tecnológicas, nos meios convencionais, e por isso nós temos de ter uma resposta que seja uma resposta contínua.

Por um lado através do Serviço Europeu de Ação Externa, onde eu penso que há muito a melhorar; por outro lado através das plataformas tecnológicas, e não apenas da sua cooperação espontânea mas da sua colaboração com as instâncias europeias e com as instâncias nacionais; e também através de uma formação dos cidadãos, e este é o ponto que me parece essencial: a formação dos cidadãos. E aqui eu digo: formação dos políticos, porque os políticos contribuem para as “fake news”. Formação dos líderes religiosos e dos líderes de opinião, porque eles contribuem para credibilizar as “fake news”. Formação, em particular, dos jornalistas e dos jornalistas de todos os meios existentes. A formação destes operadores será essencial para detetar as “fake news”, a instrumentalização e para impedir o outro risco, o risco do outro lado que é a censura, e que nós também queremos banir.


  Carlo Calenda (S&D). – Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, la democrazia liberale è sotto attacco e rimarrà sotto attacco per i prossimi dieci anni.

È sotto attacco dall'interno, da parte di partiti come la Lega e il Movimento 5 Stelle in Italia che la vogliono demolire, e a questo attacco si risponde con le elezioni, perché la democrazia si difende con la democrazia.

Ma è anche sotto attacco dall'estero, e questo attacco dall'estero si salda con i partiti che la attaccano dall'interno e, in questo caso, non può bastare la democrazia a difendere la democrazia, serve una commissione speciale per appurare in che modo ci siano state interferenze pesantissime da parte di quei partiti che pretendono di difendere l'interesse nazionale ma vendono l'interesse nazionale a paesi esteri. Questo non è tollerabile e l'Europa deve sapersi difendere!

La democrazia è rispettosa, la democrazia è aperta, ma la democrazia non è debole. La democrazia è forte e sa rispondere. Concludo dicendo che gli interventi dall'altra parte dell'emiciclo sembrano molto quel detto latino "excusatio non petita, accusatio manifesta".


  Klemen Grošelj (Renew). – Spoštovani predsedujoči, gospod komisar, vpletanje tujih, bodisi državnih bodisi nedržavnih akterjev, v volitve in še posebej v predvolilne in druge za demokratične družbe ključne procese v Evropski uniji, državah članicah in tudi širše, je dobilo razsežnosti, ki spodjedajo temelje naše demokratične ureditve.

Obseg premišljenih, ciljno usmerjenih in zelo dobro organiziranih ter usklajenih dejavnosti postaja grožnja, na katero se moramo odločneje odzvati. Gre za preplet zlorabe novih tehnologij in z njimi povezanega dostopa v naše domove na eni strani ter informacijskih potreb, sodobnih, demokratičnih, odprtih in na resnični svobodi govora temelječih družb na drugi strani.

Pri tem se uporablja vrsta propagandnih metod in tehnik, a še pogosteje prefinjenih metod, s katerimi se izkrivlja resnica oziroma se ustvarja lažni vtis resničnosti posredovanih informacij in podatkov, s katerimi se ogrožajo demokratične volitve ali usmerjajo javne razprave v naših družbah. Odziv na to grožnjo je nujen, saj so ogrožene naše temeljne vrednote, a mora hkrati biti premišljen, temelječ na doslednem spoštovanju vladavine prava in demokratičnih vrednot ter standardov.

Predvsem pa mora temeljiti proaktivnem delovanju zoper to grožnjo s posredovanjem kredibilnih in preverljivih informacij, ki bodo onemogočile manipulativno dejavnost tujih akterjev.


  Roberts Zīle (ECR). – Cienījamā prezidentūra, komisāra kungs! Īstenībā apdraudējums, par ko mēs runājam, ir daudz dziļāks nekā tikai dezinformācija, un mums — patīk vai nepatīk — jāatceras, ka Eiropas Savienība kā tāda nav globālais līderis ne datu vākšanā, ne mākslīgā intelekta attīstībā, ne arī izpratnē, kā cīnīties ar dezinformāciju un citām metodēm, kas grauj demokrātijas pamatus.

Ko mums darīt šajā situācijā? Es redzu, ka mums būtu jākoncentrē resursi, kas mums ir, un jāuzlabo sadarbība. Jautājums, vai mēs to darām. Mēs šeit dzirdējām par aicinājumu veidot jaunu Eiropas demokrātijas aģentūru, bet mēs aizmirstam — un šeit nekur neizskanēja —, ka mums šeit pat, Eiropas galvaspilsētās, ir NATO Stratēģiskās komunikācijas ekselences centrs Rīgā, mums ir NATO Kiberdrošības ekselences centrs Tallinā, kas ir ar mūsu pašu ekspertiem, tur strādā vairums šo valsts pārstāvju ekspertu, un viņu iestrādes ir daudz, daudz dziļākas. Paskatāmies uz to un izmantojam šo resursu. Kaut vai publiskā informācijā par apdraudējumu vēlēšanās ir Somijas, Zviedrijas, Latvijas, Igaunijas pieredze, un tas ir jāizmanto šajās lapās.


  Isabel Benjumea Benjumea (PPE). – Señor presidente, señores representantes del Consejo y de la Comisión, verdaderamente las noticias falsas tienen un efecto nocivo sobre las democracias liberales y constituyen uno de los retos más importantes que tenemos que afrontar como sociedad. Este tipo de noticias —las fake news— crean confusión entre los ciudadanos, erosionan la confianza en las instituciones e inducen al engaño del ciudadano y, lo que es más importante, generan inestabilidad política.

Lo cierto —y no nos debemos llevar a engaño— es que las noticias falsas son el instrumento de los enemigos de las sociedades abiertas, son el instrumento de los regímenes autoritarios que dirigen a las opiniones públicas desde el poder o de las fuerzas populistas que buscan condicionar los debates públicos para alcanzar sus objetivos.

Dos ejemplos claros de esto son lo que hemos vivido recientemente con el Brexit o lo que ocurrió recientemente, lo que sufrimos en España, durante la crisis del desafío secesionista ocurrido en el año 2017. En aquella ocasión el independentismo catalán mostró su maestría en el uso de la propaganda, la manipulación y la difusión de falsedades, tratando de proyectar una imagen negativa de España que en nada corresponde a la realidad.

Toda esta situación no se soluciona ni con la censura, ni con límites a la libertad de expresión. Este fenómeno lo que pone en evidencia es la necesidad de contar, ahora más que nunca, con unos medios de comunicación que garanticen la calidad de la información que ofrecen a los ciudadanos. Y, así mismo, tenemos que incidir en la educación, formando a ciudadanos responsables y con espíritu crítico. También hay que incidir en las humanidades y en la formación en las capacidades de los jóvenes.

Esto es un enfoque a largo plazo, es un enfoque ambicioso, pero creo que ahí está la clave para enfrentarnos con rigor al fenómeno de las noticias falsas.


  Sven Mikser (S&D). – Mr President, while I think it is important that we hold this debate today, I believe that this alone is not sufficient given the magnitude of the challenge. Therefore, I strongly support the proposal to set up a special committee tasked with looking into external interference in our democratic processes and elections.

Russian attempts to meddle in our elections and engage in other malicious influence activities have been well documented, and some have been mentioned here today. The regime in the Kremlin, as well as other illiberal and non—democratic regimes, have made no secret of the fact that they detest our core European values and our representative democracy. So it should not be entirely surprising that they support, financially or otherwise, political forces in our countries that share their disgust of liberal values.

It’s not, however, limited just to that. Perhaps even more importantly, they want to undermine the trust of European citizens in our democratically elected institutions and to discredit the whole concept of liberal democracy. This is an existential threat to our Union and must be treated as such by us. Setting up a special committee is therefore a step in the right direction.


  Stanislav Polčák (PPE). – Pane předsedající, přes snahu zatemnit toto téma rozmělněním diskuse, já se budu věnovat především roli ruské propagandy, protože jak známo, kremelská propaganda má velmi významný vliv v roli fake news a samozřejmě se také v průběhu let zásadně zdokonalila, dokonce získala i rozpočtové prostředky navíc. S ruskými dezinformacemi máme ostatně v Česku a dříve v Československu zásadní zkušenosti, kdy např. invaze v roce 1968 byla vydávána za bratrskou pomoc. Nebo např. nejnověji máme zde spor o pomník maršála Koněva, který je účelově podsouván pouze jako ryze kladná dějinná postava, a víme, že tomu tak není, např. při potlačení maďarského povstání.

Ruským dezinformátorům bychom se měli rozhodně postavit, jestliže se zdokonalují oni, musíme se zdokonalit i my. Leccos jsme už v tomto směru podnikli, v letošním roce bylo zavedeno dobrovolné reportování online platforem o dezinformacích. A také vytvořen systém rychlého varování, který má usnadnit zaprvé sdílení poznatků členských států týkajících se těchto dezinformačních kampaní a také koordinovat reakce na ně, to je velmi důležité. Nyní však záleží na tom, jak vše toto dokážeme převést do praxe a účinně s tím pracovat. Já mám velká očekávání od právě nově jmenované místopředsedkyně Komise paní Jourové, která má právě boj proti dezinformacím a fake news na starosti, takže budu jí držet palce.

(Řečník odmítl otázku, kterou chtěla zvednutím modré karty položit Anna Bonfrisco.)


  Tonino Picula (S&D). – Poštovani predsjedavajući, hvala. Razvojem digitalizacije informacije očekivano postaju sve dostupnije platformama za komunikaciju. To je naravno zakonito.

Međutim, razvijenu interakciju ne prati adekvatna razina zaštite privatnih informacija niti provjera istinitosti informacija koje se plasiraju. Skandal Cambridge Analitica pokazao je način kako se osobne informacije zloupotrebljavaju, koriste u propagandne svrhe i za oblikovanje političkih kampanja. Eurobarometar iz studenoga prošle godine ističe da je gotovo dvije trećine građana zabrinuto stranim utjecajem i mogućnosti manipuliranja izbornim rezultatima .

Komisijin preliminarni pregled europskih izbora pokazuje da su skupine povezane s trećim zemljama i razni nedržavni akteri radili na narušavanju kredibiliteta  Europske unije putem društvenih medija. Dovoljno je dokaza da ova tema postane jedan od naših prioriteta i zato podržavam osnivanje posebnog odbora. Također smatram da je potrebno proširiti raspravu i na financiranje političkih stranaka, one direktno povezano s trećim zemljama, njihovim utjecajem na sadržaj kampanja pa tako i na rezultate izbora.



Spontane Wortmeldungen


  Mónica Silvana González (S&D). – Señor presidente, necesitamos una Europa que proteja a las personas, y proteger a las personas significa reforzar, y este Parlamento debería enviar un mensaje muy claro a la Comisión de proteger sociedades e instituciones europeas.

Los contenidos de desinformación, polarizantes y basados en nacionalismos, en sentimientos religiosos, se ensañan con ciertos colectivos ⸻colectivos como las personas migradas o las personas de diferente orientación religiosa, personas LGTBI, etcétera⸻, promoviendo un discurso del odio que, lamentablemente, está extendido, y a España también ha llegado. Y en las últimas elecciones vemos cómo este discurso del odio se ha convertido en una apología política, ensañándose con las personas LGTBI y las personas migrantes, con falsedades como acabar con el fin de la identidad cristiana, etcétera, etcétera.

Se buscan chivos expiatorios y se buscan chivos expiatorios en quienes defendemos a estas personas y sus derechos. Se nos etiqueta como los enemigos. Estos populismos están financiados, obviamente, por entidades extranjeras.

Por eso necesitamos que, de este Parlamento, salga una resolución contundente de protección a las personas y, concretamente, se ha incluido a los colectivos. Queremos crear una comisión especial justamente para la investigación y para lograr más coordinación entre los Estados.


Puhetta johti HEIDI HAUTALA


  Petras Auštrevičius (Renew). – Madam President, for a moment I invite you to imagine the European Union, which is known for setting global standards of quality of life in democracy, falling into the following situation: less independent and no investigative media, our citizens living in a post—truth society and dangerously exposed to outside manipulation and national populists are generously financed by foreign subjects. As a result, we’re living according to the national interest of such countries as Russia, China or probably any extremist group.

I am convinced that none of us wants this, and it is high time to review the EU and national legislation in regard to foreign financing of political parties campaigning or individual candidates, and also to install screening mechanisms for strategic foreign investments. This is how I imagine the European way of life can be sustained.


  Jérôme Rivière (ID). – Madame la Présidente, j’ai écouté la Commission avec attention et j’ai bien entendu qu’elle était particulièrement satisfaite d’elle-même dans sa lutte contre les fausses informations. Pour autant, la réalité est bien différente.

J’entends bien des pays ou des formations politiques pointés du doigt, mais qu’en est-il de ses propres interférences vis-à-vis des nations membres de l’Union européenne? Les Britanniques ont fait le choix de quitter l’Union européenne; tout est fait aujourd’hui, y compris par de fausses informations, pour bloquer cette décision souveraine. En Italie, la voie de la démocratie serait le retour aux urnes: là encore, la Commission encourage par de fausses nouvelles, de fausses rumeurs, une union politique contre nature.

La Commission passe son temps, contre les avis des peuples, à interférer dans des affaires des nations de l’Union européenne sur des sujets qui ne sont pas de sa compétence, bafouant ainsi nos traités. Encore une fois, aujourd’hui, notre assemblée agite de grandes idées, mais ne balaye pas devant sa propre porte.


  Clare Daly (GUE/NGL). – Madam President, I find a real irony in the idea of electoral interference in the democratic processes of the European Parliament when we all know the democratic deficit that exists, and you’d wonder why anyone would bother!

But the reality is that foreign electoral interference has been going on since there were elections. The USA has been interfering on a grand scale not just in South America or the Middle East but actually in the heart of Europe itself. And the only reason we’re now invoking the spectre of Russian interference is to blame somebody for the catastrophic electoral failures of the establishment parties in Europe and the failure of neoliberal policies that have left millions of European citizens behind, have left them demoralised and disillusioned.

These are the real reasons for the election of Trump, for Brexit and for the rise of the far right, but of course it’s far easier to pretend that it’s a conspiracy by an official enemy and that citizens are too stupid to know what’s good for them.

If we’re really concerned about electoral interference, let’s address the vast and constant interference in the democratic process by lobbyists, by billionaire newspaper owners, by transnational corporations. Fix that and you won’t have to worry about internet memes and Facebook ‘likes’ that nobody outside this bubble cares about.


  Marina Kaljurand (S&D). – Madam President, I would like to thank the Commissioners and the Finnish Presidency and I would like to express my hope that we will negotiate and adopt a strong resolution on this important topic.

Foreign electoral interference attacks one of the most sacred and universal principles of non—interference articulated in the UN Charter. This interference has different aspects, as we have already heard, and I would like to underline the importance of tackling attacks against technical infrastructure essential to democratic processes, in other words, attempts to hack democracy. In order to tackle these attacks, we need strong national measures as well as EU—wide and international cooperation. Here the EU should be a leader: vocal, united, strong and committed. We should be crystal clear that foreign interference is not acceptable and that appropriate measures will be taken against those who violate it.


(Pyynnöstä myönnettävät puheenvuorot päättyvät)


  Julian King, Member of the Commission. – Madam President, I would like to thank honourable Members for this important and timely debate. As a number of you have underlined, disinformation campaigns are designed to hamper the ability of our citizens to make informed choices, to divide our society and our communities, and to call into question the outcomes of our electoral processes and the integrity of our democratic institutions. I don’t think that we can accept this as a new normal. We must be ready to do more to counter it.

Part of the problem comes from outside of the EU. A number of you have mentioned Russia. Let me be clear: there is a team – it’s been referred to in the institutions – whose job it is to monitor pro-Kremlin disinformation campaigns, and they report – this is publicly available – that, over a recent period when they checked, the amount of pro-Kremlin coordinated disinformation across our Member States had doubled compared with a year ago. So this is a real problem, and we should not duck that. Let me also be clear that others have learned from the Russian playbook, so we have to build our resilience – we have to build our counter-measures to resist and counter disinformation, wherever it comes from.

That’s why we’ve put in place – from the Commission’s side, working with the Member States and with civil society – a series of measures. But I am not pleased, and we are not resting on our laurels: we say we need to do more. We need to do more on tackling online disinformation, and we need to do more on reinforcing the resilience of our elections. In the coming weeks and months, we will review the Code of Practice on Disinformation to ensure that we can do better to protect the integrity of our democratic societies, and we will report to you on this by the end of October.

Let me just say, in response to one or two of the comments, that this Code of Practice on Disinformation which we are pursuing with the social media platforms has absolutely nothing to do with censorship. It has absolutely nothing to do with the idea of a Ministry of Truth. It is not about determining that a particular political comment is good or bad, true or false. It is about shining a light on the provenance of political debate. It is about transparency, so that our citizens know when they see information where it comes from, who’s paying for it, and whether it’s a human or an artificial machine that is circulating that information. I think that is essential, if we’re going to be able to equip our citizens to make good choices.

We will also come back to you to report on the conduct of the European Parliament elections and the implementation of the election package of measures on free and fair elections. Again, we will work on a European democracy action plan to build the resilience of our democratic systems, and we expect to put forward – subject to confirmation – legislative proposals to ensure greater transparency on paid political advertising and clearer rules on the financing of European political parties. Alongside this, at the same time, we will continue to work with fact—checkers, researchers and civil society, as well as the Member States and online platforms, so that together we can make the progress we need to ensure a prosperous, safe and democratic future for Europe and our citizens.


  Tytti Tuppurainen, President-in-Office of the Council. – Madam President, thank you for the opportunity to participate in this debate. It is on a very topical issue and one which is a priority for our Presidency. I would like to thank Members for their very active participation.

The resilience of our Union is based on unity. The more united we are, the better we can withstand the spread of disinformation. It is our obligation to spare no effort to protect our elections and more generally our democratic systems from foreign interference, and we have to do it in full respect of fundamental rights such as freedom of speech, the media and association.

We will continue working horizontally across sectors, across borders, learning from each other through the exchange of information and best practices. And progress has been made. However, as Commissioner Jourová and Commissioner King and many of you here said, we must remain vigilant, and as I reiterated, the Presidency has placed significant emphasis on hybrid threats.

We also look forward to the new initiatives announced by the Commission. And let me once again point out that general awareness of the hybrid threats among our citizens is essential. While open societies and public administrations provide correct information, there won’t be lasting room for disinformation. So thank you again for this interesting and important debate.


  Puhemies. – Työjärjestyksen 132 artiklan 2 kohdan mukaisesti käsiteltäväksi jätetyt päätöslauselmaesitykset ilmoitetaan myöhemmin.

Keskustelu on päättynyt.

Äänestys toimitetaan seuraavalla istuntojaksolla.

(Istunto keskeytettiin hetkeksi.)

Kirjalliset lausumat (työjärjestyksen 171 artikla)


  Joachim Stanisław Brudziński (ECR), na piśmie. – W dzisiejszej debacie mówimy o tym, jak ważne jest utrzymanie i obrona suwerenności naszych krajów, również prawa do wolnych wyborów, których w krajach dokonujemy. Manipulowanie opinią publiczną jest ogromnym zagrożeniem dla procesu demokracji. Dywagujemy nad tym, czy szereg krajów spoza UE miało wpływ na wyniki wyborów lub na opinię publiczną. Istnieją obawy takich działań – ale pewności nie mamy, nikomu tego nie udowodniono.

Natomiast znamy przykłady, gdy wielokrotnie i czynnie włączały się w ostatnią kampanię wyborczą osoby, które z racji piastowanego urzędu nigdy robić tego nie powinny. To nie kto inny jak wiceprzewodniczący KE pan Frans Timmermans, który czynnie uczestniczył w Polsce w konwencjach wybranych partii na kilka dni przed majowymi wyborami do PE. I to nie kto inny jak wiceprzewodniczący Komisji Europejskiej, komisarz ds. lepszej regulacji, rządów prawa i Karty praw podstawowych. Podobnie też brał udział w kampanii wyborczej przewodniczący Rady Europejskiej pan Donald Tusk, również czynnie włączając się w kampanię Koalicji Obywatelskiej. To kolejna osoba, która z racji piastowanej funkcji powinna zachować apolityczność i reprezentować wszystkich obywateli UE, nie zaś promować wybranych.

Dlatego ważna jest walka z zakamuflowanymi działaniami państw trzecich, ale równie ważne – jeśli nie ważniejsze – jest zachowanie należytych standardów na naszym wewnętrznym gruncie państw Unii Europejskiej.


  Klára Dobrev (S&D), írásban. – Döbbenetes, hogy a Földön a racionalitás szerepét mennyire átvették az indulatok, a nem létezőtől való félelmek, egyes nemzeteken belül egymás gyűlölete mindent elönt. A technikai fejlődés egyik hátrányaként a társadalmak szisztematikus félrevezetése, manipulációja az az eszköz, amellyel hatalmuk növelésére törekvő államok becsapják, félelembe szorítják, így megzsarolják a polgárokat. Miközben ez egyre nyilvánvalóbban egy világprobléma, lásd, ahogy Putyin Oroszországa hol kisebb, hol nagyobb sikerrel befolyásolja saját érdekeinek megfelelően korábban csillogó demokráciák döntéseit, – gondolok itt akár az USA elnökválasztására, vagy a brexitre, és sok más hasonló esetre – itt Európában is egyre inkább a körmünkre ég ez a dezinformáció.

Sőt! Látszólag itt a jó európai államok küzdenek a demokráciát befolyásoló elemekkel, mindeközben a valóság az, hogy van olyan EU-s tagállam, amely saját maga gyártja az álhíreket, terjeszti azokat az állami élet minden eszközével, félelmet kelt a választókban, majd nagylelkűen felajánlja a védelmüket, ha rá szavaznak. Szomorúan kell Önöket tájékoztatnom arról, hogy ez az EU-s tagállam a saját hazám, Magyarország. Támogatom az előterjesztést. De miként lehet a tagállamokat cselekvésre felszólítani, amikor éppen egy tagállam egy fő elkövető? A harc az álhírekkel szemben csak akkor lehet sikeres, ha a legerősebb elkövetőkkel, így a magyar kormánnyal szemben is fellépünk.


  Evin Incir (S&D), skriftlig. – Under de senaste åren har flera val utsatts för manipulation utifrån, och regler för val blivit brutna i ett flertal medlemsstater. Under 2020 kommer mer än 50 olika val hållas i EU:s medlemsstater och utländsk påverkan kommer fortsätta vara en utmaning. Utöver att störa val, urholkar desinformation förtroendet för det allmänna och den offentliga debatten. Undersökningar visar att manipulation ofta används för att så split i samhället, genom att utpeka vissa grupper som ett hot. Minoritetsgrupper angrips särskilt ofta. Dessa desinformationskampanjer kommer inte bara utifrån utan används också av högextrema grupper och partier inom Europa för att stärka sina positioner. På sikt hotar detta det demokratiska samhället och jag anser att mer behöver göras. Jag stöder kommissionens åtgärder och anser att nätjättar behöver ta ett större ansvar för hur hat, hot och falsk information sprids på sina respektive nätverk.


  Sandra Pereira (GUE/NGL), por escrito. – A obsessão da União Europeia (UE) relativamente à eventual interferência de países terceiros nos processos democráticos dos seus Estados-Membros é, mais que tudo, um exercício de cinismo, quando se sabe que é ela própria, a UE, uma fonte constante de ingerência na soberania de outros países. Não é estranho, portanto, que esta resolução seja useira de acusações sem sustentação e vezeira no apoio a organizações que visam a desestabilização dos países terceiros, no controlo sobre os dados e as informações pessoais dos cidadãos, na afirmação dos interesses militares e geoestratégicos de uma UE sempre mais preocupada com os mercados que com a democracia. As fake news, a qualidade da informação e a literacia informacional devem ser questões que nos preocupem a todos. Mas temos de reconhecer que, frequentemente, é a UE e as instituições europeias que promovem as fake news. Enfrentar este problema não se faz com a invenção de um inimigo externo; faz-se com a democratização dos órgãos de comunicação social, com o fim da concentração em grandes grupos dos meios de comunicação, com o fim da submissão dos conteúdos aos interesses dos grandes grupos económicos, com o reforço dos meios públicos de comunicação social, com a valorização das condições de trabalho dos profissionais do setor.



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