Tuesday

10th Dec 2019

Orban and other PMs spread fake news, says Juncker

  • EU commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker, arriving at the pre-summit meeting of the European People's Party (Photo: European People's Party)

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said on Friday (14 December) that "some of the prime ministers" present at the EU summit, including Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban, are partly responsible for spreading fake news.

"When Mr Orban for example is saying that I am responsible, guilty for the Brexit: fake news," said Juncker at the press conference wrapping up the two-day EU summit.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 30-day free trial.

... or join as a group

  • Hungarian PM Orban (l) meeting with Austrian chancellor Kurz, whose country holds the temporary EU presidency seat (Photo: European People's Party)

"When he is saying that migrants are responsible for the Brexit: fake news," he added.

His comments were made after the EU countries' heads of state and government adopted a text which declared that "an urgent response" was needed towards fake news, or disinformation.

"The spread of deliberate, large-scale, and systematic disinformation, including as part of hybrid warfare, is an acute and strategic challenge for our democratic systems," EU leaders said.

They called for "swift and decisive action at both European and national level on securing free and fair European and national elections".

They also asked for a "prompt and coordinated implementation" of an action plan on disinformation which the commission presented earlier this month.

That plan pointed to Russia as one of the main distributors of fake news.

But Juncker stressed on Friday that EU leaders should also look at themselves.

"We proposed weeks ago some instruments, but the fake news are not only to be found in the camp of the fake newsers," said Juncker.

"I made it very clear to the European Council that some of the prime ministers sitting around there, they are at the origin of fake news," he added, referring to the formal name of the combined EU leaders.

"So let's not put all responsibility on others, let's check in our round who is the news faker," he added.

Although Juncker and Orban are a member of the same political family, the centre-right European People's Party (EPP), the two have a complicated relationship.

He famously called Orban 'dictator' when jovially greeting EU leaders at a previous gathering in Latvia in 2015.

In an October interview in Le Monde, Juncker said Orban no longer had a place in the EPP, because of diverging views on rule of law.

EU warns tech giants on Russian fake news

Social media platforms are told to tackle fake accounts and the spread of fake news more effectively before the European elections next May - or face regulation.

EU tells platforms to sort fake news by October or face new law

The European Commission wants results by October against fake news - or it may impose regulations targeting "a few platforms." But its current plans are not acceptable to everyone, with civil groups saying more evidence is needed to shape policy.

Opinion

EUvsDisinfo site must be strengthened, not abolished

The EU's bid to fight 'fake news', the EUvsDisinfo website, is in its infancy and has made mistakes. But transparency and a willingness to put those errors right means it is doing vital work in the battle against Russian propaganda.

EU says Hungary's anti-Juncker campaign is fake news

The European Commission has branded the latest campaign by the Hungarian government as 'fake news', after Orban's government accused Juncker of pressing ahead with migration proposals that threaten the country's security.

News in Brief

  1. Orban wants bill to tighten grip over theatres
  2. Dutch reduce terror threat level for first time since 2013
  3. Russia banned from Olympics over doping scandal
  4. EU agrees future human rights sanctions
  5. Greens demand Zahradil conflict of interest probe
  6. EU commission to 'correct mistake' on enlargement
  7. Luxembourg pushes EU to recognise Palestine
  8. Minister: 'All Brussels kids should be trilingual at 18'

Wilmès becomes first female PM of Belgium

On Sunday, Sophie Wilmès was appointed as the new prime minister of Belgium - becoming the first female head of government in the country's history. She replaces Charles Michel who becomes president of the European Council.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December
  5. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us