#EUelections – The European Union and the fake news
News website on a laptop with fake sign

#EUelections – The European Union and the fake news

The European Union (EU) wants to improve transparency regarding the way information is produced or sponsored, guarantee the diversity of information and its credibility and to promote inclusive solutions with broad stakeholder involvement.

1. Tackling Fake News in the EU[1]

The EU pathway against disinformation is characterized by 5 main steps.

1) In March 2015, the EU started the East Strategic Communication Task Force (ESCTF) in order to develop communication products and campaigns focused on better explaining EU policies in the Eastern Partnership countries. ESCTF works closely with the EU institutions and with the EU Delegations in the Eastern Partnership countries[2].

2) In April 2016 the Joint Framework on countering hybrid threats was published[3]. It was proposed to establish dedicated mechanisms to exchange information with Member States and to coordinate the EU’s capacity to deliver strategic communications. An EU Hybrid Fusion Cell within the EU Intelligence and Situation Centre (EU INTCEN) of the European External Action Service (EEAS) will offer a single focus for the analysis of external aspects of hybrid threats[4].

3) In April 2018, the European Commission published the “Communication on tackling online disinformation: a European approach” that outlined the key overarching principles and objectives which should guide actions to raise public awareness about disinformation and efficiently tackle the phenomenon, as well as the specific measures which the Commission intends to take with this regard[5].  

4) In August 2018, the Code of Practice on disinformation was published, including an annex identifying best practices that signatories will apply to implement the Code’s commitments. The Code and other initiatives set forth by the Commission are essential steps in ensuring transparent, fair and trustworthy online campaign activities ahead of the European elections in spring 2019[6].

5) In March 2019, the Rapid Alert System (RAS) is set up among the EU institutions and Member States to facilitate the sharing of insights related to disinformation campaigns and coordinate responses. The RAS is based on open-source information and will also draw upon insights from academia, fact-checkers, online platforms and international partners[7].

Maria Elena Argano

For further informations:


[1] European Commission Website:https://ec.europa.eu/digital-single-market/en/fake-news-disinformation

[2] EEAS Website: https://eeas.europa.eu/regions/eastern-europe/2116/questions-and-answers-about-east-stratcom-task-force_en

[3] European Commission Website: https://www.hybridcoe.fi/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Joint-Framework-on-countering-hybrid-threats-1-2.pdf

[4] European Commission Website: https://www.hybridcoe.fi/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Joint-Framework-on-countering-hybrid-threats-1-2.pdf

[5] European Commission Website: https://ec.europa.eu/digital-single-market/en/news/communication-tackling-online-disinformation-european-approach

[6] European Commission Website: https://ec.europa.eu/digital-single-market/en/news/code-practice-disinformation

[7] European Commission Website: https://eeas.europa.eu/headquarters/headquarters-homepage_en/59644/Factsheet:%20Rapid%20Alert%20System

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