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Ever since Alexis de Tocqueville's exploration of democracy in America during his travels in 1831 1832, Europe has followed the evolution of US democratic trends. Today, almost 200 years later, challenges to democracy in the USA offer important lessons for democracies across the world, including in Europe. The 2022 mid-term elections are widely seen as an inflection point at a time when the pressure on democracy worldwide is under mounting pressure. Simultaneously, geostrategic and systemic tension ...

This briefing follows up the commitments made by the commissioner since 2019.

On 23 June 2022, for the first time since the start of Russia's war on Ukraine, the Heads of State or Government of the EU and of the six Western Balkan countries will meet for a leaders' meeting in Brussels. The discussion will focus on enlargement, energy, security and defence, and youth. Discussion of Emmanuel Macron's 'European Political Community' proposal is not on the agenda, but it could come up during the debate.

In recent times, the European Union (EU) has witnessed a sharp rise in hate speech and hate crime, yet EU law criminalises such conduct only if related to a limited set of protected characteristics, such as race and ethnicity. The Commission, with the support of the Parliament, seeks to address this limitation by extending the list of 'EU crimes' included in Article 83 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), to cover hate speech and hate crime. This can only be done by a Council ...

While Russia deploys cyber warfare and disinformation strategies in its war on Ukraine, social platforms, and telecommunication, media and internet operators are playing an important role in relaying information on the war and shaping public opinion. The EU has taken a number of immediate, practical, measures to support Ukraine, and is contemplating further action to build the resilience of its communications infrastructures, strengthen cybersecurity and counter disinformation.

The European Parliament is expected to vote in March on a report on external attempts to influence elections and other democratic processes in EU countries. The report, prepared by the Special Committee on Foreign Interference (INGE), summarises the EU's main vulnerabilities and recommends steps to address them.

The Monthly Highlights publication provides an overview, at a glance, of the on-going work of the policy departments, including a selection of the latest and forthcoming publications, and a list of future events.

Media environment in Belarus

Briefing 10-02-2022

The media situation in Belarus has never been easy. With Aliaksandr Lukashenka being elected president of the country for the first time in 1994, the necessary reforms to provide media freedom have never materialised. Instead, over the years various laws have lessened the rights of independent journalists and imposed limits on both traditional and electronic media. Following the August 2020 presidential election, which ignited a brutal crackdown against the democratic opposition, the situation has ...

Whereas social media provide individuals with new opportunities to access information, express opinions, and participate in democratic processes, they can also undermine democracy by distorting information, promoting false stories and facilitating political manipulation. This EPRS paper provides an overview of the key risks social media pose to democracy related to surveillance, personalisation, disinformation, moderation and microtargeting. It also discusses key approaches to tackling social media ...

Disinformation has continued to spread in recent years, receiving a significant boost during the COVID-19 pandemic and constituting one of the most pressing threats for democratic countries. Authoritarian regimes have played their part in the proliferation of manipulated content, particularly disinformation. This paper analyses recent instances of the misuse of social media platforms and other communication channels perpetrated by authoritarian regimes in Iran, China, and Russia to influence the ...