On 24 May 2022, the Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica, met with the delegation of the European Parliament’s (EP) Special Committee on Foreign Interference in all Democratic Processes in the European Union, including Disinformation – INGE 2. The participants addressed the EU’s resilience to information manipulation and interference, especially solutions for strengthening resilience to disinformation and propaganda spread by Russia.
In a meeting with the Chair of the Committee, Raphaël Glucksmann, the Parliamentary Secretary noted that the EU’s capacity to resist disinformation was closely linked to the strengthening of the media environment: “Not only governments but also civil society and independent media have a vital role in thwarting Russia’s efforts to undermine democratic institutions in Europe.”
The Parliamentary Secretary offered special thanks to Member of the EP, Sandra Kalniete, who, being a rapporteur appointed by the INGE Committee, was responsible for drawing up a Report of the INGE Committee approved by the European Parliament on 9 March. The document was produced as the result of over 50 hearings held with more than 130 experts, and constitutes a valuable contribution to the strengthening of democratic resilience.
The Parliamentary Secretary underlined that, in the context of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, the urgency had increased to develop an EU action plan and tools in order to penalize individuals and institutions from third countries that are purposely spreading disinformation and interfering in democratic processes in European countries. The European Democracy Action Plan envisages the creation of such a toolbox. “Online platforms have done a lot right on countering Kremlin propaganda justifying or spreading lies about Russia’s war in Ukraine, but enforcement is still unsatisfactory,” the Parliamentary Secretary pointed out.
Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica also stated that Latvia welcomes the INGE report recommendations in support of independent journalism and media, including in the EU’s Eastern Neighbourhood countries.
The European Parliament’s Special Committee on Foreign Interference in all Democratic Processes in the European Union, including Disinformation – INGE 1, was established in 2020. The committee scrutinised foreign interference in democratic processes, EU institutions and member States, including disinformation, and threat levels in various fields, as well as producing recommendations as to solutions and response tools. On 10 March 2022, the European Parliament created a new Special Committee (INGE 2) vested with the responsibilities to follow-up on the INGE 1 report and assess its implementation.