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Security experts urge EU executive to counter 'pro-Kremlin disinformation'

PR dla Zagranicy
Grzegorz Siwicki 29.11.2018 17:00
More than 60 security experts from 20 countries have appealed to the European Commission to more effectively counter "hostile disinformation" by Russia, a news agency reported on Thursday.
EU Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini. Photo: EPA/FABRICE COFFRINIEU Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini. Photo: EPA/FABRICE COFFRINI

The appeal came in a letter to European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker and EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, in which the experts proposed concrete ways of dealing with the problem, public broadcaster Polish Radio’s IAR news agency reported.

The experts, among them Poles, argue that it is necessary to strengthen an EU counter-disinformation team that has a staff of 14 and works on an annual budget of EUR 1 million.

According to the experts, the team, called the East Strategic Communications Task Force, should be provided with an additional 30 staff "with various language and specialist skills in order to be able to analyse pro-Kremlin disinformation with appropriate human resources."

The task force should also be "provided with an annual budget of at least 5 million EUR for special research, monitoring and campaigns," the experts said.

The appeal comes as elections to the European Parliament are scheduled to be held in EU member states next May and some are warning Russia might seek to interfere in the election campaign, the IAR news agency reported.

The experts argue that "Russia must be explicitly identified as the main foreign source of hostile disinformation against the EU and its values."

They insist that the EU should "send a strong signal to Russia" that the bloc "does not tolerate Russia exploiting its fundamental values and principles, such as freedom of expression, for malign information operations aimed at weakening the EU and its member states."

The signatories also say that the "EU’s weak response to Russia’s disinformation is damaging to the European Union’s credibility internationally, and as a security provider to its citizens."

The originator of the letter is Jakub Janda, head of Kremlin Watch, a programme launched by Czech research institute European Values that aims to "expose and confront instruments of Russian influence and disinformation operations focused against Western democracies."

Janda told Polish Radio he did not like the approach of the EU foreign policy chief because she "sees no threat."

Last year, a group of international experts accused Mogherini of being passive in the face of Russian propaganda in the EU, the IAR news agency said.

The European Commission at the time said that individual EU countries were responsible for combating Russian propaganda, according to IAR.


Source: IAR, europeanvalues.net

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