Croatia Wants EU to Fight Russia’s Disinformation Campaign

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Eight EU countries have warned the EU about Russia’s propaganda.

Croatia is among eight EU member states which have sent a letter to EU High Representative for Foreign Policy and Security Federica Mogherini, requesting that the European External Action Service (EEAS) should significantly expand its efforts to counter Russian propaganda, reports Jutarnji List on October 24, 2017.

In addition to Croatia, the letter was signed by the foreign affairs ministries of the Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

The letter states that “we are facing an unopposed third-party (Russian) disinformation campaign, and we see an urgent need to strengthen the capacity of the EU’s StratCom further.” StratCom is an EU office which has been founded by all member states to uncover and fight the untruths that are being spread about the EU. The letter also demands that two new StratCom’s branches, for the South and the Western Balkans, should be activated as soon as possible. The countries also want the EU to improve funding and invest sufficient resources in innovative technologies.

The EUobserver, which first broke the story, reported that these states were at the forefront of what is described in the letter as “a sophisticated and intense campaign of foreign actors to create distrust and dissatisfaction with the democratic order, discrediting the European Union, the transatlantic community and our partners, as well as diminishing our unity.”

StratCom, which is supposed to help fight Russian propaganda, was created two years ago by the European Council’s decision and acts within the EEAS framework. Some diplomats say it was founded primarily due to the European Council President Donald Tusk, and that Federica Mogherini did not show any substantial interest in it.

Through Twitter and social networks, it tries to deny Russian disinformation and promote a positive coverage of EU activities in the area of ​​the former Soviet Union. There are about 30,000 followers on Twitter. It consists of just 14 employees, of whom ten are seconded diplomats from EU member states. Two additional diplomats work in the Western Balkans division, and six in the South division, which is mainly engaged in a campaign against radical Islamization.

Some EU diplomats believe that the impact of the initiative is weak, primarily because it is difficult to defeat propaganda with slow official information which is having a hard time penetrating into mainstream media. Propaganda is always one step forward, being more viral and having a stronger impact than denials which are published after the EU verification, sometimes even after a couple of days.

Translated from Jutarnji List.


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