“The Council of the European Union (EU) holds a role in respect to the elections to the European Parliament and this is why I added the misinformation topic as an important theme, which can also be seen from the perspective of the fact that we want these elections be as sheltered as possible from any outside interference,” Minister-delegate for European Affairs George Ciamba stated on Tuesday in Strasbourg.
The Minister-delegate stated, within a meeting with Romanian journalists at the European Parliament, that the main file of the Romanian Presidency of the EU Council will be the multiannual financial framework 2021-2027, but there have been added also “current specific topics.”
“We also added current specific topics, let’s not forget that the General Affairs Council also has institutional relations duties, which means that it is the Council’s body which holds a role in respect to the elections for the European Parliament and this is why we added the misinformation topic as an important theme, which can be seen also from the perspective of the fact that we want these elections be as sheltered as possible from any outside interference. Certainly, we completed it also with a discussion that is very logical and continues the talk about misinformation, namely the discussion on how to better communicate in Europe. It’s paramount not to leave any free space, to communicate Europe better,” Minister-delegate Ciamba stated, who carried out in Strasbourg a series of meetings with officials of the European Parliament.
In respect to the measures for preventing misinformation, he stated that, just like in the case of cyber-security, the discussion is connected to the assignment. Basically, everything “depends on how much one can blame a certain type of cyber-attack or fake news or matters regarding the national security on a state or entity, because the moment when one realises a certain type of blame, one can also have the mechanisms to sanction those that spread such things.”
When asked what measures Romania plans to promote as the holder of the Presidency of the EU Council in order to discourage the “fake news” practices and misinformation, the Minister-delegate mentioned that there are two aspects of the issue.
“On the one hand, there is the matter regarding cyber-attacks and Romania already had an initiative, alongside other six states that are on the same page, namely to have a European legislation that can lead to the identification of the cyber-attacks. In respect to the fake news matter, it is treated differently. It’s about the Code of Good Practices [of the Foreign Affairs Ministry – MAE], it’s about the manner in which we can distinguish between the citizen’s right to free information and not spreading fake news that aim, starting from some things that do not exist, to create emotional states, which also transfer to the electoral processes, being able to influence many times even the elections,” George Ciamba stated.
He also offered as examples in this regard the referendum in Catalonia and the situation of France. “We can see that, recently, this topic was present as a means of propagation, including of some undesirable phenomena, aggression, violence,” Minister-delegate Ciamba added.
Meeting of the Deputy Minister for European Affairs, George Ciamba, with the Chair of the Committee on Constitutional Affairs of the European Parliament (AFCO), Danuta Hübner