Saturday

26th May 2018

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".

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • 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.

Analysis

EU has no 'magic bullet' against US Iran sanctions

EU leaders in Sofia will discuss how they can protect the bloc's economic interests against US threats to sanction companies doing business in Iran. But their options are limited.

Opinion

Ratifying CETA after 'Achmea scandal' is anti-European

While few people in Europe have heard of the 'Achmea' ruling, the case will have far-reaching consequences. Member states must understand the implications of the case quickly - especially those considering ratifying the EU-Canada trade agreement.

News in Brief

  1. Italy set to pick eurosceptic finance minister
  2. UK foreign minister fooled by Russian pranksters
  3. Rajoy ally gets 33 years in jail for corruption
  4. Close race as polls open in Irish abortion referendum
  5. Gazprom accepts EU conditions on gas supplies
  6. Facebook tells MEPs: non-users are not profiled
  7. Commission proposes ending France deficit procedure
  8. UK households hit with Brexit income loss

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceEuropean Ombudsman requests more lending transparency from European Investment Bank
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersOECD Report: Gender Equality Boosts GDP Growth in Nordic Region
  3. Centre Maurits Coppieters“Peace and reconciliation is a process that takes decades” Dr. Anthony Soares on #Brexit and Northern Ireland
  4. Mission of China to the EUMEPs Positive on China’s New Measures of Opening Up
  5. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOld White Men are Destroying Macedonia by Romanticizing Greece
  6. Counter BalanceControversial EIB-Backed Project Under Fire at European Parliament
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersIncome Inequality Increasing in Nordic Countries
  8. European Jewish CongressEU Leaders to Cease Contact with Mahmoud Abbas Until He Apologizes for Antisemitic Comments
  9. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual Report celebrates organization’s tenth anniversary
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Cooperation Needed on Green Exports and Funding
  11. Mission of China to the EUPremier Li Confirms China Will Continue to Open Up
  12. European Jewish CongressCalls on Brussels University to Revoke Decision to Honour Ken Loach