Russia Seeking to Meddle in EU Elections, Commissioner Warns
The foreign interference is aimed at deeping the rifts in the EU societies.
Meddling from abroad, especially disinformation campaigns by Russia, are seeking to influence the outcome of the 2019 EU elections, European Commissioner for Justice Vera Jourova has warned.
The citizens of the 28 EU member states, including the UK which presently on a Brexit extension, are going to elected the new Members of the European Parliament on May 23-26, 2019, in the world’s second largest exercise in direct electoral democracy after India’s elections.
However, the 2019 EU elections are certainly under the threat of foreign meddling, particularly from Russia, according to EU Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova.
“We cannot allow for election results in even one member state to be distorted by manipulation. Not solely, but also in part because these elections will decide the destiny of Europe,” Jourova told the newspapers of the German RND group on Monday, as cited by DW.
In her words, the foreign campaigns are seeking to exploit existing divisions in the European societies.
“This makes it hard to identify them. We are currently experiencing a digital arms race. Europe needs to be aware,” Jourova said.
In a bid to fight fake news and disinformation allegedly used by foreign governments against the EU, the Union has established the StratCom unit which monitors and disproves manipulated reporting in Russian and other media.
Various accounts linked to Russia or far-right groups had been spreading false information and divisive stories ahead of the European elections, The New York Times wrote on Sunday.
In Germany, the suspected accounts sought to provoke divisions by supporting the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) as well as far-left antifa groups.
The current disinformation campaigns targeting the 2019 elections are mimisscking in many ways the Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential election, according to experts cited in the report.
Lithuania’s Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius also called for vigilance ahead of the EU-wide vote.
“The European election is a test run of whether defense mechanisms against Russian interference work. We cannot be naive. Moscow is trying to create a permanent state of instability in the EU and exploit it for its own interests,” Linkevicius told RND.
(Banner image: Vera Jourova on Twitter)