ING2 Report - Takeaways
Coordinated strategy against foreign information manipulation and interference
- Establishment of a whole-of-society strategy (including sufficient funding), adoption of a risk-based approach, based on criteria similar to the 2015 Directive on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purposes of money laundering or terrorist financing,
- A strategy includeng measures to enforce better existing provisions on foreign interference. Commission’s proposal of a robust Defence of Democracy Package should take into account the INGE 1 and 2 reports, and the Conference on the Future of Europe proposals.
- Amending Article 222 of the TFEU to include foreign interference
- Establishment of 1) a EU structure serving as a focal point and specialised knowledge hub, 2) a Sharing and Analysis Centre (ISAC) for common methodology development and 3) a Rapid Alert System for parliamentarians (national and European)
- Scale-up independent communication channels for Russian speakers. The Commission and the EEAS should prepare concrete proposals and measures
- Dangerous phenomenon of disinformation-for-hire, whereby providers offer disinformation services to government and non-government actors, for example over the dark web, to attack electoral processes.
- MEPs call for a permanent body in the European Parliament to ensure an effective monitoring and fight foreign interference.
- A concerted EU media literacy strategy, sharing EU Guidelines for Media Literacy with candidate countries.
- Establishment of an Observatory of foreign influences studying FIMI impacts on higher education and research, increased funding/resources to EEAS StratCom and its
- EU institutions, bodies and agencies, and member states should strengthen trainings and situational awareness actions and adopt a dedicated communications framework to rapidly detect foreign interference and counter it. The European External Action Service, NATO StratCom CoE and Hybrid CoE are important partners.
- Sufficient and sustainable funding through joint EU funds and programmes to investigative journalists and civil society organisations investigating the issues.
- Need to include threats against the safety of journalists in the EU, legal threats and abusive court proceedings against public participation in the Commission’s assessment on rule of law.
- Establishment of protection measures for media and their workers when targeted by foreign powers to undermine the right to information.
- Establishment of “mirror clauses” whereby the openness of the European information space would be proportionate to the access given to European media in other countries.
- Development of a EU-wide regulatory system preventing media companies under the editorial control of foreign government or owned by foreign high-risk countries from acquiring European media companies that could be based on existing foreign direct investment screening mechanisms.
- Ban micro-targeting for political advertising particularly that based on sensitive personal data.
- MEPs regret that social media companies (1) do not take their full responsibility and underperform when it comes to identifying and taking down disinformation more expeditiously (2) and still lag behind in terms of actively countering disinformation.
- MEPs regret that the EU is dependent on foreign companies to help preserve the integrity of European elections.
- Platforms should step up their coordination to better identify disinformation campaigns and prevent their spread.
- Platforms should increase funding and better integration of accredited third-party fact-checkers in all EU languages.
- Platforms should (1) prioritise fact-based information coming from reliable sources, (2) allocate more qualified staff, resources and capacity to monitor and moderate harmful content and behavior in all EU official languages, (3) facilitate full access, in particular to researchers, (4) keep a repository of take-downs, (4) offer a justification why they considered it not to be technically feasible to provide access to data.
Critical infrastructure and strategic donors
- Inclusion of digital election infrastructure and education systems in the critical infrastructure list.
- Commission should develop Information and Communication Technologies supply chain security legislation, stronger regulatory framework and harmonisation of national foreign direct investment screening practices.
- Possibility to block foreign direct investment detrimental to EU interests.
- Commission and the Council should exclude equipment and software from high-risk countries, the TikTok ban to all EU institutions should be extended.
- EU member states and the Commission should stop all fossil fuel imports from autocratic regimes to the EU and work towards sustainable energy sovereignty.
Interference during electoral processes
- The Commission and the co-legislators should enhance the Authority for European Political Parties and European Political Foundations’ toolbox to trace donations and fully involve Parliament.
- The Commission should elaborate a code of good practices on social media applicable to public representatives and authorities.
- Allocation of additional resources to implement the EP’s strategy for the 2024 European elections.
- EU member states should strengthen legal safeguards preventing EU member parties of European political parties to receive payments from non-EU origin at national level.
- MEPs consider that similar networks to the European cooperation network on elections should be established with EU National Parliaments; member states’ Parliaments and electoral authorities should do more to inform the public about interference risks.
- EU state and local governments should be provided with a toolkit services and tools to fight FIMI.
Covert funding of political activities
- Identification of common EU rules on political campaigning and political party financing by the cooperation network on elections.
- MEPs expect the ongoing negotiations will enhance the mandate of the Authority for European Political Parties and European Political Foundations (limitations of financial transactions from non-EU countries into the EU’s political system).
- The need for co-legislators to adopt before the European election in 2024 measures on transparency and targeting of political advertising.
- Call for prohibition of advertisements bought by actors outside the EU and the EEA.
- Member states should address the issue of donations from third countries to national parties.
Cybersecurity and resilience in respect of cyberattacks related to democratic processes
- Additional legislation is needed to protect EU Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) supply chain security from high risk vendors and cyber-enabled property theft.
- MEPs stress the need for efficient coordination and better information sharing between EU institutions, bodies and agencies (also through existing structures as Computer Emergency Response Team for the EU Institutions (CERT-EU) and European Union Agency for Cybersecurity (ENISA)).
- MEPs call for a complete audit to determine whether EU institutions, bodies and agencies have control over its internal ICT systems, including threat assessment carried out by a leading and verified external third party.
- Member States to speed up its implementation of the CER and NIS2 Directives.
The impact of interference on the rights of minorities and other vulnerable groups
- Development of long-term programmes supporting local grassroots organisations and citizens’ initiatives for population’s resistance to right-wing extremism.
- EU institutions, bodies and agencies, and national authorities to monitor and debunk Russian disinformation regarding the war in Ukraine and Ukrainian refugees.
- The EU and member states to implement accessible fact-checking information to fight against disinformation and provide access to information in all possible formats for people with disabilities.
- The creation of early warning systems which identify and report gendered disinformation, and an investigation into the funding sources of gendered disinformation campaigns.
Interference through global actors via elite capture, national diasporas, universities and cultural events
- Updated transparency and ethics rules and mapping of foreign funding for EU-related lobbying.
- Suspend all work on legislative files relating to Qatar and Morocco and establish a permanent sanctions regime for individuals and entities responsible for corruption.
- Establishment of EU legislative framework for combating corruption to target elite capture, revolving doors and trafficking influence and for the Commission to tighten its rules on elite capture.
- Transparency Register
à Establishment of a specific foreign influence section
à Stronger requirements and incentives for foreign powers to register
àEnhanced registration and disclosure requirements for civil society organisations, consultancies, agencies, foundations, think tanks and private companies receiving foreign funding
à Ban entities with direct or indirect relations with the Russian government and Belarus
- Commission should include academic and research institutions in the Defence of Democracy Package.
- Member states and research authorities should review Chinese partnerships with European universities and immediately terminate existing cooperation with research institutions directly funded by or with relations to the Chinese military.
- More transparency for academic and research institutions in foreign partnerships and their funding.
- Member states and EU authorities should investigate the alleged existence of Chinese overseas police stations and take coordinated action against any illegal activities associated to China’s United Front in Europe, and close them down immediately.
- National authorities should review and update their anti-espionage framework.
- More Intelligence Analysis and Reporting INTCEN capacity to carry out its counterintelligence mandate and deepen cooperation with national authorities.
- EU political parties should develop a strong response to hate speech and harassment campaigns against Members of Parliament.
Deterrence, attribution and collective countermeasures, including sanctions
- The Commission and Council should include satellite broadcasting in the sanctions packages against Russia.
- MEPs welcome the Commission’s directive criminalizing the violation of Union restrictive measures and call on the European Public Prosecutor’s Office to be tasked with investigating and prosecuting these crimes in the EU.
- The FIMI toolbox should include a specific sanctions regime on FIMI and measures to strengthen attribution capacity of European institutions and national governments.
- EU member states should (1) update, if necessary their legal framework, (2) discuss the possibility of qualified majority voting when sanctioning high-risk states.
- Member states and the Commission should consider how to counter disinformation from individual actors inside the EU, such as influencers on social media or politicians promoting disinformation on behalf of high-risk states.
Neighborhood, global cooperation, multilateralism
- MEPs call for (1) closer cooperation with regional organisations from the Global South, such as the African Union and ASEAN and for (2) closer cooperation on strategic communication with partner organisations and countries to counter FIMI in accession countries (Western Balkans and Eastern Partnership countries), (3) engage more with the US in relation to neighboring countries, (4) for increased cooperation with NATO in building resilience among EU and NATO member states.
- MEPs believe cooperation on countering hybrid threats with Ukraine could take the form of an ‘Information Ramstein’, mirroring the Ramstein Defence Contact Group.
- The EU institutions should provide support to Ukraine’s diplomatic outreach in the Global South.
- The EEAS to take additional measures to counter manipulative narratives in the Global South, by (1) strengthening the tools and resources of its StratCom division and CSDP/CFSP missions and operations, and (2) through increased cooperation and coordination with the United States and other like-minded partners (such as the US, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan).
- The EEAS should create an initiative with like-minded partners to counter malign non-state actor groups and to include parliamentary dimension in its outreach and capacity-building initiatives in EU neighborhood countries to support civil society organizations and independent media.
- Establishment of regional strategic communication hubs outside the EU.
- EU delegations and member states’ embassies in third countries should constantly monitor and map disinformation techniques in the countries where they are based. It is necessary to carry out updated trainings for EU officials and diplomats concerning FIMI.
- The Commission in its upcoming evaluation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to provide clarity on how GDPR combats information manipulation (between public and private actors in the EU and in cooperation with like-minded partners).
- Establishment of a specific European Democratic Media Fund (to support journalism in enlargement and European neighborhood and candidate countries); the Commission should develop a long-term structured approach regarding the support to Russian and Belarusian independent media and journalism in exile.
- EEAS and member states should keep working with like-minded partners in establishing common norms of responsible state behavior and definitions.