L. Linkevičius: disinformation is a serious challenge to Western unity

Linas Linkevičius

On Monday, Minister of Foreign Affairs Linas Linkevičius participated in an EU Foreign Affairs Council meeting, where EU member state foreign ministers discussed the EU’s plans to combat disinformation, a press release states according to lrt.lt.

On December 5, 2018, the European External Action Service and European Commission approved an action plan against disinformation, the main initiator of which was Lithuania. It earmarks extra financial and human resources for the service's strategic communications teams, new initiatives are planned against propaganda, an EU rapid response to disinformation system is being created.

"We live in an age of fake news, disinformation and hybrid threats are a serious challenge to the unity and security of the EU and the entire West. Hostile third countries, first of all Russia, systematically employ disinformation in order to divide us, undercut our mutual trust, influence our democratic processes and decision making, massive resources are set aside for this," L. Linkevičius said.

The minister noted that the coming European Parliament elections will become yet another challenge, which will test the EU's resilience to third countries' propaganda, thus rapid and effective implementation of the counter-disinformation action plan. Particular focus will be on coordination and effective distribution of resources, application of good practices of combatting disinformation at the EU level, cooperation with NATO and other international organisations, the involvement of the public and the news media.

L. Linkevičius emphasised that it is crucial to ensure that combating disinformation and hybrid threats would become a cornerstone of the new EU strategic agenda.

Lithuania was one of the EU member states, at whose initiative the European External Action Service formed a strategic communication and combatting disinformation team in 2015. The first report on actions combatting disinformation is planned to be released in March 2019.

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