Friday

22nd Mar 2019

Mogherini urged to do more on Russian propaganda

  • Mogherini: EU sources said the Italian diplomat never took much interest in Stratcom (Photo: consilium.europa.eu)

Eight member states have urged the EU's foreign service to significantly expand its work on countering Russian propaganda.

They said in a letter to EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini that "in the face of unabated third party disinformation campaigns … we see an urgent need to further enhance the EU's StratCom capabilities".

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

  • Russian spends hundreds of millions of euros a year on anti-EU propaganda (Photo: de.sputniknews.com)

The EU foreign service created East Stratcom, dealing with the former Soviet region, in late 2015.

It also created the Western Balkans StratCom Task Force over the summer and the South StratCom Task Force, which focuses on Islamist radicalisation, some eight months ago.

The letter called for the "roll-out at full capacity" of the two new branches.

It said all the EU task forces should have "proper funding" and "a firm institutional basis."

It also said they should have "sufficient resources" to be able to buy "innovative technologies, such as media analysis, risk assessment, and big data instruments".

The 12 October letter, seen by EUobserver, was signed by the foreign ministers of six former communist and Soviet states - Croatia, the Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Romania.

These are on the front line of what the letter called a "sophisticated and intense" campaign, waged by "external actors", to "generate distrust and discontent with the democratic order, to discredit the EU, the transatlantic community and our partners, as well as to weaken our unity."

The letter was also signed by the British and Swedish foreign ministers.

East StratCom circulates online notes that debunk Russian disinformation and has attracted 30,000 followers to its Twitter account.

It also promotes positive coverage of the EU in former Soviet states.

It has just 14 staff, 10 of whom are seconded from EU states or other EU institutions, and four of whom are contracted agents or assistants.

The Western Balkans task force contains two more seconded diplomats.

South StratCom has six more.

The forces do not have their own budgets and do not work together.

The foreign ministers' letter noted that unless they were given a more permanent footing, then "the ability of the EEAS [EU foreign service] to preserve and rely on the knowledge and expertise accumulated over time by the task forces" could be lost.

News in Brief

  1. Report: Corbyn to meet May on Monday for Brexit talks
  2. Petition against Brexit attracts 2.4m signatures
  3. Study: Brexit to cost EU citizens up to €40bn annually
  4. NGOs demand France halt Saudi arm sales
  5. Report: Germany against EU net-zero emissions target
  6. Former top EU official takes job at law firm
  7. Draft text of EU summit has Brexit extension until 22 May
  8. Juncker suggests emergency Brexit summit next week

EU migrants sneaking into US from Mexico

Almost 1,000 Romanian nationals were caught trying to sneak into the United States in 2017, of which around half attempted to cross via Mexico. Nationals from countries like Hungary and the UK were also intercepted.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  4. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  5. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan
  8. UNICEFUNICEF Hosts MEPs in Jordan Ahead of Brussels Conference on the Future of Syria
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic talks on parental leave at the UN
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsTrial of Chechen prisoner of conscience and human rights activist Oyub Titiev continues.
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic food policy inspires India to be a sustainable superpower
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us