๐Ÿ“ŠWebinar "Risks and Opportunities"

Particular attention was paid to the impact of the rule of law crisis, media freedom issues, as well as disinformation and cyber attacks. In the discussion, speakers pointed to a number of risks for the upcoming EU elections. These include anti-democratic interference from outside and within, the erosion of democracy and the rule of law in a number of member states, and extremely biased reporting by the public service media, as well as the overlap between state and party and the lack of an independent judiciary in some cases. The speakers noted that all these problems call into question the integrity of the EP election process.

Challenges to EP elections are increasing due to the digitalisation of political campaigning and news consumption as well as anti-democratic interference from outside and within. The erosion of democracy and the rule of law in a number of member states poses a particular problem. Extremely biased reporting by public media, overlap of state and party and a lack of independent judiciary in some cases contribute to problems that challenge the integrity of the EP election process.

At the same time, the EP elections also offer opportunities, as more voters are motivated to defend democratic structures and the EU has become more visible as a crucial political actor, especially in the context of the Covid pandemic, its reconstruction funds and its role in supporting Ukraine. This impetus could translate into voter mobilisation, but also revive the idea of leading candidates.

Recommendations of the webinar:

  • Strengthen free and independent media and protect journalists, human rights activists and civil society organisations, and counter restrictions by foreign agents legislation, SLAPP, physical threats and intimidation to counter media capture and biased reporting.

  • Stimulate policy debates on topics important to European voters and encourage democratic participation while balancing the attention to anti-European narratives and far-right parties in the elections to support voter engagement and a positive vision of the EU as a project.

  • Improve communication around the EU institutionsโ€™ activities in the fight against disinformation to raise awareness about the sources and quality of information for citizens.

  • Support the creation of stronger systems by civil society, media and academia to monitor and counter disinformation in EU and EU MS domestic context.

  • Strengthen the EUโ€™s perception in public opinion as solution provider and inform citizens more about its activities and functioning.

  • Respond decisively to the undermining of the rule of law in MSs as rule of law weaknesses may affect electoral integrity (I.e. possibility of election appeals).

You can find the full webinar uploaded online here.

The project is funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the authors only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.

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