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Parliamentary question - E-003998/2022(ASW)Parliamentary question

Answer given by Ms Johansson on behalf of the European Commission

The Commission firmly opposes any attempted foreign interference, threat, or intimidation on the sovereign territory of Member States.

Member States, which are responsible for the maintenance of law and order and for safeguarding internal security on their own soil, are entitled to investigate any alleged violation of their laws or transgression of their competences in internal security occurring on their territory, and any violation of human rights.

Concerning alleged forced returns of Chinese citizens, the Commission supports the application of the principle of non-refoulement in line with international human rights’ law.

No one should be returned to a country where they could face torture, cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment and other irreparable harm. This principle applies to all, always, irrespective of migration status.

Hybrid threats, including information manipulation, are a challenge to the EU’s security which need to be addressed. The EU-China Strategic Outlook from March 2019 already reflected this and the Commission has raised this with China in bilateral meetings.

The Commission has repeatedly made the case for the need to address information manipulation campaigns, including disinformation, and foreign interference from a range of actors, including from China and other actors, more systematically.

Work is ongoing to step up common efforts in this area, such as through the Foreign Information Manipulation and Interference toolbox.

The Commission will put forward a Defence of Democracy package in 2023[1] that will also seek to bring covert foreign influence and untransparent funding to light.

Last updated: 13 March 2023
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