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European Parliament fighting foreign interference

European Parliament calls for banning of TikTok

Ban TikTok at all levels of national government and in the EU institutions. The European Council and the Commission should exclude the use of equipment and software from manufacturers from high-risk countries, particularly China and Russia, such as ByteDance Huawei, ZTE, Kaspersky, NtechLab or Nuctech, the European Parliament recommends by adopting a report from a parliament special committee on foreign interference. The report was adopted by 469 votes for, 71 against and 75 abstentions.

EU needs a coordinated strategy to increase the union’s resilience to foreign interference and information manipulation and protect the 2024 European elections, the parliament says.

Foreign interference, disinformation, and attacks on democracy are likely to continue in ever-greater numbers and to become more sophisticated in the run-up to the European Parliament elections in June 2024.”.

The report focuses particularly on Russian and Chinese interference in the EU, in countries applying to join the EU, including the Western Balkans, and countries in the Global South.

“Parliament condemns the dangerous phenomenon of disinformation-for-hire, whereby providers offer disinformation services to government and non-government actors, for example over the dark web, to attack electoral processes.” 

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To counter prohibited financial transactions from non-EU countries entering the EU’s political system, MEPs urge the EU Commission to facilitate tracking of donations and call on the member states to urgently address the issue of donations from third countries to national political parties.

MEPs also highlight the risks of economic dependence, espionage and sabotage, when foreign companies acquire influence over EU critical infrastructure. 

“Chinese shipping companies have acquired majority or sizeable interests in over 20 European ports”, they add . 

Parliament wants a coordinated EU strategy to include new initiatives alongside improved enforcement of existing provisions, and calls for adequate funding to tackle disinformation and uphold democratic processes. 

MEPs are requesting the Commission to develop an effective Defence of Democracy Package together with legislation to counter hybrid threats in the EU, taking into account proposals from the Conference on the Future of Europe/

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They also want a permanent European Parliament body to monitor and fight foreign interference.

The Parliament says that in adopting this report, it is responding to expectations of EU citizens to step up the fight against foreign interferences as expressed in proposals of the conclusions of the Conference on the Future of Europe.

“Foreign interference in democratic processes represents a growing threat to the security of EU member states and the EU, particularly against the backdrop of rapid technological development and Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine”, the Parliament’s rapporteur Sandra Kainiete (EPP, LV), says in a statement. 

“We must act urgently and implement our recommendations quickly. Significant and lasting investment must be made in our democratic resilience, drawing on the experience of our partners like Ukraine and Taiwan.”

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