Paris, 19 February 2019 – Democracy in Europe: Interference and misinformation at the dawn of the European elections

Computer propaganda and online interference in elections are threats to free and fair elections and the legitimacy of the democratic process. Since the 2014 European elections, many polls have seen attempts to interfere in the debates, among which may be mentioned the referendum for Brexit, elections in the Philippines, the United States, Brazil or Italy. Those responsible for these digital propaganda are both national actors and foreign actors.

In this context, it is not surprising that the European Commission and the Member States are increasingly concerned about the safety, integrity and legitimacy of the forthcoming European elections. The threats are indeed many and varied: voluntary and massive dissemination of misleading content, use of false accounts to increase the scope and virality of certain political messages, strategic hacking, cyberattacks on the electoral infrastructure, leakage of compromising information, etc. Which of these threats is the European Union likely to be exposed to in the coming months? Their degree and nature are, for the moment, difficult to predict, since the methods and means used by the attackers change regularly and adapt to the counterfeits put in place by the states. The other major problem lies in the fact that the European elections consist, in fact, in the organization of 27 national elections, organized in parallel, each of the States having their own vulnerabilities and means. The Commission has started to act against digital disinformation, calling on the Member States to adopt measures regulating digital data traffic, with the aim of combating fake news. Germany, the Czech Republic, Italy and, more recently, France have already legislated in this direction.

 

Program

14: 00⋅ Welcome message by Miguel Magalhaes, director of the delegation of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in Paris

14: 10⋅ Introduction
Sébastien Maillard, director of the Jacques Delors Institute

14: 25⋅ Democracy in Europe: risks of interference and misinformation at the dawn of the European elections
Marine Guillaume, “Cybersecurity and Digital Affairs” Project Manager, Analysis, Forecasting and Strategy Center (CAPS), Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Ricardo Gutierrez, Secretary General of the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), Member of the High Level Group FakeNews of the European Commission
Nathalie Mallet-Poujol, jurist and director of research at the CNRS, University of Montpellier

Facilitation : Richard Werly, France correspondent, European affairs, Le Temps

15: 40⋅Exchanges with the room

16: 20⋅Conclusion
Laurent Cohen-Tanugi, international lawyer, member of the Board of Directors of the Jacques Delors Institute

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