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European Council: combating disinformation and fake news to “secure fair European and national elections”

Bruxelles: interno del Palazzo Europa

(Brussels) “The spread of deliberate, large-scale, and systematic disinformation, including as part of hybrid warfare, is an acute and strategic challenge for our democratic systems. It requires an urgent response that needs to be sustained over time, in full respect of fundamental rights”. Fake news has made its official entrance into the European Council, which raised the problem in its conclusions today for it may affect democratic stability and the forthcoming European elections in May 2019. Indeed, the European Council “stresses the need for a determined response, that addresses the internal and external dimensions and that is comprehensive, coordinated and well-resourced on the basis of an assessment of threats”. It calls for “the prompt and coordinated implementation of the Joint Action Plan on disinformation presented by the Commission and the High Representative so as to bolster EU capabilities, strengthen coordinated and joint responses between the Union and Member States, mobilise the private sector and increase societal resilience to disinformation”. Finally, it “calls for swift and decisive action at both European and national level on securing free and fair European and national elections”. Conclusions were modest in other areas (including migration; nothing new about solidarity and resettlements), while the definition of the multiannual budget was postponed until the end of 2019.

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