The European Parliament passed a recommendation calling Russia “the main source of disinformation in Europe” and appealing for increased funding for the EU’s East StratCom Task Force, which already got 1.1 million euros in 2018.
HINT: The East StratCom Task Force is a EU body focused on so-called proactive communication of EU policies and activities in the Eastern neighbourhood (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine) and beyond (Russia and further).
The passed document says that East StratCom Task Force as well as its two task-force subdivisions dealing with the southern neighborhood and Western Balkans, should get
“adequate financial and personnel resources which are still required, aimed at the significant increase of their potential, effectiveness, professionalism, institutional continuity and quality of work, as well as safeguarding them against political meddling by officials and countries that back Russian disinformation.”
Furthermore, it called on EU member states “to ensure that electoral laws take into account possible threats stemming from disinformation campaigns” and urged them to “adapt their electoral rules on online campaigning and to monitor and evaluate the transparency features in relation to political advertising introduced by the online platforms.”
The suggestions also include support for “independent and diverse Russian-language media in the countries of the Eastern Partnership and beyond” and “to focus on the EU accession countries and partners in the EU neighborhood by assisting them in their efforts to counteract hostile propaganda and disinformation activities.”
The formal justification of the moves suggested in the document is based on the mainstream media narrative that Russia every day carries out disinformation campaigns and cyber attacks, aimed at increasing tensions within the EU and its member states.
The proposal passed by the European Parliament is another indication that the EU bureaucracy is steadily pushing the bloc towards media and political totalitarism. The principle of freedom of speech is becoming abandoned. Most critical positions and reports are labeled Russian propaganda and disinformation while grassroots initiatives not loyal to the European establishment or non-mainstream media outlets are described as Russian agents.
An important factor behind the decision to adapt ‘electoral laws and rules’ and exploit the Russian threat is the upcoming election in the European Parliament as well as concers of the European bureaucracy and financial circles ahead of them.