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EU cyber sanctions: Moving beyond words

25-09-2020

The EU recognises that cybersecurity and cyber-defence are critical for its prosperity, security and global ambitions. Offensive cyber-attacks by malicious actors show no sign of slowing down (not even during the coronavirus pandemic) and thus require concrete dissuasive measures. In July 2020, the EU Member States decided for the first time to use the 'teeth' rooted in the EU cyber-diplomacy framework and to 'bite cyber perpetrators back' by placing sanctions on them. This precedent has helped reinforce ...

The EU recognises that cybersecurity and cyber-defence are critical for its prosperity, security and global ambitions. Offensive cyber-attacks by malicious actors show no sign of slowing down (not even during the coronavirus pandemic) and thus require concrete dissuasive measures. In July 2020, the EU Member States decided for the first time to use the 'teeth' rooted in the EU cyber-diplomacy framework and to 'bite cyber perpetrators back' by placing sanctions on them. This precedent has helped reinforce the EU's cyber policy action.

The evolving consequences of the coronavirus 'infodemic': How viral false coronavirus-related information affects people and societies across the world

23-09-2020

Massive waves of information, including extensive amounts of false information have accompanied the coronavirus pandemic. False information is being spread by a number of different actors for various reasons. Deliberately deceptive (geo-)political disinformation campaigns to undermine democracies – including the European Union (EU) – have been spread by authoritarian state actors and their proxies. Extremist groups have exploited the situation to spread their messaging. Others have propagated misleading ...

Massive waves of information, including extensive amounts of false information have accompanied the coronavirus pandemic. False information is being spread by a number of different actors for various reasons. Deliberately deceptive (geo-)political disinformation campaigns to undermine democracies – including the European Union (EU) – have been spread by authoritarian state actors and their proxies. Extremist groups have exploited the situation to spread their messaging. Others have propagated misleading information for financial gain. At the same time, a combination of widespread anxiety as well as increased use of social media during lockdowns in many countries have provide fertile ground for 'organic' false information and conspiracy theories by individual users who do not intentionally want to deceive anyone, but inadvertently become part of the problem by spreading and/or amplifying misleading messages. The repercussions of the 'infodemic' are still evolving, but have impacted the ability of authorities to effectively deal with the pandemic, with the infodemic is aggravating the spread of the virus itself. Different regions of the world have been challenged by a variety of types of false information and both general and region-specific narratives – many of which have impacted public health, the economy, geopolitics and societal stability.

Foreign interference in democracies: Understanding the threat, and evolving responses

22-09-2020

Across the world, democratic societies, institutions, processes and values are under increasing external and internal attack. The coronavirus crisis has, meanwhile, exacerbated the systemic struggle between democracy and authoritarianism, prompting authoritarian state and non-state actors to deploy a broad range of overt and covert instruments in their bid to destabilise their democratic counterparts. Against this backdrop, and following a string of examples of hostile meddling by authoritarian actors ...

Across the world, democratic societies, institutions, processes and values are under increasing external and internal attack. The coronavirus crisis has, meanwhile, exacerbated the systemic struggle between democracy and authoritarianism, prompting authoritarian state and non-state actors to deploy a broad range of overt and covert instruments in their bid to destabilise their democratic counterparts. Against this backdrop, and following a string of examples of hostile meddling by authoritarian actors to undermine democratic governing processes in countries such as Ukraine, the United Kingdom, the United States (US), Canada and Australia, the focus on foreign interference continues to sharpen. Among the EU's institutions, the European Parliament − arguably the flagship of European democracy − is pushing the policy response to foreign interference to the top of the political agenda. Among other initiatives and actions, in October 2019 it passed a resolution on countering foreign interference and has set up a special committee on foreign interference, whose constituent meeting is scheduled to take place in September 2020.

Peace and Security in 2020: Overview of EU action and outlook for the future

10-09-2020

This is the third Peace and Security Outlook produced by the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS). The series is designed to analyse and explain the contribution of the European Union to the promotion of peace and security internationally, through its various external policies. The study provides an overview of the issues and current state of play. It looks first at the concept of peace and the changing nature of the geopolitical environment, in light of global shifts of power and of the ...

This is the third Peace and Security Outlook produced by the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS). The series is designed to analyse and explain the contribution of the European Union to the promotion of peace and security internationally, through its various external policies. The study provides an overview of the issues and current state of play. It looks first at the concept of peace and the changing nature of the geopolitical environment, in light of global shifts of power and of the impact of the coronavirus crisis. It then follows the logic of the annual series, by focusing on the promotion of peace and security in the EU's external action. Linking the study to the Normandy Index, which measures threats to peace and democracy worldwide based on the EU Global Strategy, each chapter of the study analyses a specific threat to peace and presents an overview of EU action to counter the related risks. The areas discussed include violent conflict, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, climate change, cyber-attacks, disinformation, and terrorism, among others. The EU's pursuit of peace is understood as a goal embodied in several EU policies, including development, democracy support, humanitarian assistance, security, and defence. The study concludes with an outlook for the future. A parallel study, published separately, focuses specifically on EU peace-building efforts in the Sahel. The studies have been drafted as a contribution to the Normandy World Peace Forum in October 2020.

Disinformation and Science: A survey of the gullibility of students with regard to false scientific news

04-09-2020

The main aim of this report is to present and discuss the results of a survey concerning perspectives on fake news among undergraduate university students in central Europe and northern Italy. The survey was carried out in spring 2020, during the coronavirus pandemic. An online questionnaire was used. The report is therefore the product of what could be achieved under highly unusual circumstances and should serve as a pointer for further studies. Misinformation is always troubling, especially in ...

The main aim of this report is to present and discuss the results of a survey concerning perspectives on fake news among undergraduate university students in central Europe and northern Italy. The survey was carried out in spring 2020, during the coronavirus pandemic. An online questionnaire was used. The report is therefore the product of what could be achieved under highly unusual circumstances and should serve as a pointer for further studies. Misinformation is always troubling, especially in science. Scientists feel distressed when public understanding diverges from the truth. Intentional disinformation (fake news), however, is not always the cause of misinformation. The report discusses the causes related to social trust and types of media consumption. The sample of the study consisted of several hundred bachelors or masters students from each participating country. Half of the students were recruited from social sciences areas and the other half of the sample were recruited from natural sciences areas. The method of approaching the students was online questioning. One university was chosen from each participating country, and the link to the questionnaire was sent by that university's administration to the students. The response to the questionnaire was naturally anonymous and voluntary.

Externí autor

DG, EPRS

2019 report on human rights and democracy

06-07-2020

Parliament's July plenary session is scheduled to feature a statement by Josep Borrell, High Representative of the European Union, and a debate on the recently published 'EU Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World 2019'. The report takes stock of all EU action in 2019 in support of democracy and human rights in the world. Parliament will subsequently respond with its own report issuing recommendations for the future.

Parliament's July plenary session is scheduled to feature a statement by Josep Borrell, High Representative of the European Union, and a debate on the recently published 'EU Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World 2019'. The report takes stock of all EU action in 2019 in support of democracy and human rights in the world. Parliament will subsequently respond with its own report issuing recommendations for the future.

Outcome of EU-China video-summit of 22 June 2020

30-06-2020

On 22 June 2020, the EU and China held their 22nd summit by videoconference. It was the occasion for the EU and Chinese leadership to touch upon a wide range of dimensions of the both strategic and challenging bilateral relationship. Topics included trade, climate change, international peace and security, Hong Kong and human rights as well as the response to the coronavirus outbreak. Yet, no joint statement was adopted as further progress would require ‘reciprocity and trust’. China is for the EU ...

On 22 June 2020, the EU and China held their 22nd summit by videoconference. It was the occasion for the EU and Chinese leadership to touch upon a wide range of dimensions of the both strategic and challenging bilateral relationship. Topics included trade, climate change, international peace and security, Hong Kong and human rights as well as the response to the coronavirus outbreak. Yet, no joint statement was adopted as further progress would require ‘reciprocity and trust’. China is for the EU both a partner committed to multilateralism, on which it nevertheless pursues in its own path, and a competitor, using assertively different economic and trade tools such as state subsidies or foreign direct investments to gain market share.

EU-China relations: Taking stock after the 2020 EU-China Summit

30-06-2020

The 22nd EU-China Summit, originally scheduled for March 2020, was postponed owing to the Covid-19 pandemic. While other summits were simply cancelled or postponed indefinitely, the EU and China decided to hold the summit by video-link, on 22 June 2020. This decision testifies to the importance both sides attach to taking their complex relationship forward in difficult times. The 2020 summit offered the opportunity to take stock of progress made on past commitments and to re-calibrate EU-China relations ...

The 22nd EU-China Summit, originally scheduled for March 2020, was postponed owing to the Covid-19 pandemic. While other summits were simply cancelled or postponed indefinitely, the EU and China decided to hold the summit by video-link, on 22 June 2020. This decision testifies to the importance both sides attach to taking their complex relationship forward in difficult times. The 2020 summit offered the opportunity to take stock of progress made on past commitments and to re-calibrate EU-China relations, against the backdrop of the wide-ranging fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, growing United States-China strategic rivalry, rapid geopolitical power shifts and the erosion of multilateralism. Looking at EU-China relations through the lens of the 2019 EU-China strategic outlook, China is seen as being at once a partner for cooperation and negotiation, an economic competitor and a systemic rival. China has been a cooperation and negotiating partner for the EU in several fields where interests have converged. Nonetheless, the different norms and values underlying the EU and Chinese political and economic systems have made cooperation challenging. Shared objectives do not necessarily lead to the same approaches to pursuing them. Economic competition has become fiercer in China, in the EU and in third markets. As the Chinese leadership shows growing assertiveness in disseminating alternative models of governance – at international, regional and bilateral levels, China is also acting as a systemic rival, on an increasing number of issues. The coronavirus pandemic has amplified pre-existing political and economic challenges in EU-China relations. It has exposed the EU's over-reliance on China for the supply of strategic goods and also China's confrontational 'Wolf Warrior diplomacy', which has involved the use of a wide range of tools, including disinformation campaigns, political influence and economic coercion, in an attempt to alter narratives critical of China's management of the crisis. It has also clearly demonstrated the need for a 'more robust' EU policy on China.

Plenary round-up – Brussels, June 2020

22-06-2020

The June 2020 plenary session was the fourth conducted with Members participating remotely, although this time a majority were present in Brussels, and using the alternative voting procedure put in place in March by Parliament's Bureau. The session focused on a number of urgent legislative proposals as well as votes on draft amending budgets and the guidelines for the 2021 EU budget. Parliament adopted recommendations on the negotiations for a new partnership with the United Kingdom, and discussed ...

The June 2020 plenary session was the fourth conducted with Members participating remotely, although this time a majority were present in Brussels, and using the alternative voting procedure put in place in March by Parliament's Bureau. The session focused on a number of urgent legislative proposals as well as votes on draft amending budgets and the guidelines for the 2021 EU budget. Parliament adopted recommendations on the negotiations for a new partnership with the United Kingdom, and discussed the European Council meeting held subsequently on 19 June. Members heard Council and European Commission statements on anti-racism protests, on the Conference on the Future of Europe, and on Covid-19 related issues: protecting strategic sectors; tackling disinformation; and protection of cross-border and seasonal workers. Members also discussed the situation in the Schengen area following the Covid-19 outbreak, as well as tourism and transport in 2020 and beyond, and land-grabbing and deforestation in the Amazonas. Members debated statements from the Vice President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borell, on the foreign policy consequences of the Covid-19 crisis, on China's national security law for Hong Kong, and on the EU response to the possible Israeli annexation of the West Bank. Finally, Parliament adopted decisions creating a subcommittee on tax matters, a special committee on beating cancer, a special committee on foreign interference and a special committee on artificial intelligence.

Institutions and foreign interferences

15-06-2020

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the AFCO Committee, assesses the EU responses to counter foreign interferences. It examines in particular the effectiveness of the EU action against foreign interferences in the 2019 European Parliament elections, the COVID-19 crisis and the issue of foreign donations to European political parties. The study concludes with specific policy recommendations to enhance ...

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the AFCO Committee, assesses the EU responses to counter foreign interferences. It examines in particular the effectiveness of the EU action against foreign interferences in the 2019 European Parliament elections, the COVID-19 crisis and the issue of foreign donations to European political parties. The study concludes with specific policy recommendations to enhance the EU’s responses.

Externí autor

Edoardo BRESSANELLI, Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa (Principal Investigator) Anna DI PALMA, Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa Gaetano INGLESE, Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa Sofia MARINI, Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa Eric REPETTO, Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa

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