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Wednesday, 6 July 2022 - Strasbourg Provisional edition

The relations of the Russian government and diplomatic network with parties of extremist, populist, anti-European and certain other European political parties in the context of the war (debate)

  Frances Fitzgerald, on behalf of the PPE Group. – Madam President, across the world, democratic values are being challenged by authoritarianism. Often it takes place under the radar, through online and cyber activity, with spyware, propaganda, interference in elections, elite capture and the funding of political parties.

As politicians, the only people we should be answerable to is the voters and not regimes that seek to undermine our European values. We have seen high profile European politicians funded by loans from banks with close links to Putin’s regime. We have heard accusations of Pegasus spyware improperly used on public figures. We’ve also read about Members in this Parliament whose international footprints extend across some of the least democratic areas in the world. Their speeches are used as anti-Western propaganda in places like China, Syria, Iran and Russia. They praise Iranian State militias as freedom fighters or fraternise with convicted Russian spies.

This is shameful, I believe, to see Members supporting regimes that are capable of launching a missile at a shopping centre and whose troops rob from the homes of innocent civilians. I think this is a betrayal of human rights, values and self-determination, which we in this Parliament always want to uphold.

We need to protect our democracies. There is so much to do in all our countries. We have unfinished democracies everywhere. Last March, for example, the Parliament’s Special Committee on Foreign Interference in all Democratic Processes in the European Union, including Disinformation produced its wide-ranging report. It is time to put these recommendations into action.

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