The European Parliament has called for a coordinated strategy to increase the EU’s resilience to foreign interference and information manipulation and protect the 2024 European elections.
MEPs believe that foreign interference, disinformation, and attacks on democracy are likely to continue in ever-greater numbers and to become more sophisticated in the run-up to the elections in June 2024.
The warning comes in a report by the Special Committee on Foreign Interference in all Democratic Processes in the European Union, including Disinformation, adopted by plenary by 469 votes for, 71 against and 75 abstentions.
In the text, MEPs highlight interference on online platforms, protection of critical infrastructure and strategic sectors, interference during electoral processes, covert funding of political activities by foreign actors and resilience to cyberattacks.
The report focuses particularly on Russian and Chinese interference in the EU, in countries applying to join the EU, including the Western Balkans, and countries in the global south.
MEPs also highlighted the risks of economic dependence, espionage and sabotage, when foreign companies acquire influence over EU critical infrastructure.
They noted that Chinese shipping companies have acquired majority or sizeable interests in over 20 European ports.
They recommended banning TikTok at all levels of national government and in the EU institutions and called on the Council and the Commission to exclude the use of equipment and software from manufacturers from high-risk countries, particularly China and Russia, such as ByteDance Huawei, ZTE, Kaspersky, NtechLab or Nuctech.