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European Parliament Publishes Draft Report On Foreign Interference, Russia And China Identified As Main Actors

November 30th, 2021 15:35

The Euro­pean Parliament’s Spe­cial Com­mit­tee on For­eign Inter­fer­ence in all Demo­c­ra­t­ic Process­es in the  Euro­pean Union, includ­ing Dis­in­for­ma­tion (INGE) has pub­lished a draft report on for­eign inter­fer­ence and dis­in­for­ma­tion in Europe. Accord­ing to the report’s explana­to­ry statement:

Octo­ber 14, 2021 When the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment decid­ed on 18 June 2020 to set up a Spe­cial Com­mit­tee on  For­eign Inter­fer­ence, includ­ing Dis­in­for­ma­tion, it tasked it with the man­date to pro­vide a  long-term approach to address­ing evi­dence of for­eign inter­fer­ence in the demo­c­ra­t­ic insti­tu­tions and process­es of the EU and its Mem­ber States. One year after the con­sti­tu­tive meet­ing of the com­mit­tee on 23 Sep­tem­ber 2020, and based on a long series of tes­ti­monies from var­i­ous experts and prac­ti­tion­ers, the rap­por­teur can already lay out the real­i­ty, the extend of the scope and the extreme sophis­ti­ca­tion of the myr­i­ad of forms tak­en by the aggres­sive inter­fer­ence oper­a­tions decid­ed and fund­ed by for­eign actors against the EU; the rap­por­teur can also point out, with con­cerns, the rapid­i­ty of the adap­ta­tion,  the volatil­i­ty and the accel­er­a­tion of this phe­nom­e­non — through new actors, new nar­ra­tives,  new tools with­in a peri­od of just one year. From the new-scale dis­in­for­ma­tion cam­paigns relat­ed to COVID-19 to the cyber-attacks against pub­lic author­i­ties enti­ties includ­ing pub­lic health infra­struc­tures, from the inter­fer­ence strate­gies inte­grat­ing elite cap­ture and indus­tri­al lob­by­ing to the covert financ­ing of polit­i­cal activ­i­ties, from the con­trol of aca­d­e­m­ic and cul­tur­al cen­tres to the instru­men­tal­iza­tion of nation­al dias­po­ras, our com­mit­tee has been analysing the mul­ti-faceted and dynam­ic dimen­sion of this new type of war­fare whose pur­pose is to under­mine the social cohe­sion and mutu­al trust of our Euro­pean demo­c­ra­t­ic soci­eties in order to weak­en them.

Read the rest here.

The INGE draft report includes a motion for a Euro­pean Par­lia­ment res­o­lu­tion out­lin­ing sev­er­al for­eign inter­fer­ence mech­a­nisms, includ­ing cyber­at­tacks, online infor­ma­tion manip­u­la­tion, covert fund­ing of polit­i­cal activ­i­ties, elite cap­tur­ing, con­trol of the dias­po­ra, and cul­tur­al, edu­ca­tion­al, and reli­gious influence.

The report accus­es Rus­sia and Chi­na of being “par­tic­u­lar­ly active in the field of elite cap­ture and co-opta­tion” and iden­ti­fies the fol­low­ing indi­vid­u­als as Russ­ian and Chi­nese influ­ence agents:

  • For­mer Ger­man Chan­cel­lor Ger­hard Schröder (Gazprom)
  • For­mer Prime Min­is­ter of Fin­land Paa­vo Lip­po­nen (Gazprom)
  • For­mer Aus­tri­an Min­is­ter of For­eign Affairs Karin Kneissl (Ros­neft)
  •  For­mer Prime Min­is­ter of France François Fil­lon (Zaroube­jneft)
  •  For­mer Prime Min­is­ter of France Jean-Pierre Raf­farin (France Chi­na Foun­da­tion)
  • For­mer Czech Com­mis­sion­er Šte­fan Füle (CEFC Chi­na Energy)

The draft report also includes the fol­low­ing with respect to Rus­sia and Chi­na as prime for­eign influ­ence actors:

  • Rus­sia and Chi­na togeth­er with oth­er author­i­tar­i­an regimes have fun­neled more than USD 300 mil­lion into 33 coun­tries to inter­fere in demo­c­ra­t­ic processes”.
  • The report cites “evi­dence of Russ­ian inter­fer­ence and online infor­ma­tion manip­u­la­tion in many lib­er­al democ­ra­cies around the world, includ­ing but not lim­it­ed to the Brex­it ref­er­en­dum in the Unit­ed King­dom, and the pres­i­den­tial elec­tions in France and the US, and prac­ti­cal sup­port for far-right and oth­er rad­i­cal-mind­ed forces and actors across Europe, includ­ing but not lim­it­ed to France, Ger­many, Italy, and Austria”
  • Both Rus­sia and Chi­na “have been attempt­ing to increase their influ­ence using cul­tur­al, edu­ca­tion­al (e.g., through grants and schol­ar­ships) and reli­gious institutes.”
  • The report also claims many cyber­at­tacks “have been traced to state-backed hack­er groups, pre­dom­i­nant­ly affil­i­at­ed with the Russ­ian and Chi­nese Governments.”