A report by the European Parliament Research Service (EPRS) concluded that the geopolitical instability has led to a deterioration of the situation in the countries neighboring the EU, RT reported citing the obtained text.
The promotion of peace and security is the fundamental goal of the EU foreign policy, according to the researchers.
“Instability – this is how the geopolitical situation can be described at the present time – has led to a sharp deterioration of the situation in the countries neighboring the European Union and has put their internal security at risk. In addition, the principle of multilateralism is a key element of the EU’s foreign policy, as well as the cornerstone of its approach to peace and security, is under increasing pressure from alternative value systems and ideologies,” the report said.
New threats such as cyber-attacks, misinformation and foreign influence campaigns require new responses, according to European analysts.
That is why they recall the European Union’s Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy, which refers to the need to increase defense spending, as well as the fulfillment of collective commitments, according to which members of the alliance should allocate 20% of their defense spending on the acquisition of new weapons.
The USSR, as noted in the document, allegedly used to carry out various “active measures” to promote its goals, including disinformation, the use of agents of influence, falsification, propaganda.
The research service believes that “in recent years, Moscow has updated and expanded its arsenal, adding, among other things, new cybertechnologies.”
According to the document, the countries neighboring with Russia, over the last more than ten years have allegedly witnessed modernized active events in Moscow.
Thus, it is stated that in 2007, Estonia became one of the first countries to become victim to cyber-attacks, following the decision of the Estonian government to demolish a Soviet monument.
The Estonian authorities, led by the then Prime Minister Andrus Ansip, said that cyber-attacks were allegedly carried out from the computers of Russian government agencies.
Moscow, in turn, called these allegations unfounded, and EU and NATO experts did not find a “Russian trace” in the attacks on Estonian websites. In addition, at that time Estonian Defense Minister Jaak Aaviksoo admitted that he had no confirmation that the cyber-attacks against Estonia were coming from the Kremlin or from other Russian state institutions.
Meanwhile, the EPRS noted that the importance of misinformation became especially obvious after the start of the “hybrid war” of Russia against Ukraine, and later – during a referendum in Britain and the elections in the United States.
“The importance of misinformation, commonly used together with other methods of influence as a means of undermining democracy, has increased in the context of the hybrid war that Russia is waging against Ukraine. The problem of misinformation has acquired global significance during the referendum on the UK leaving the EU and the presidential elections in the US in 2016,” the report stated.
The European analysts also allege that Moscow uses academic specialists as instruments of spreading its influence.
“The same can be traced at a less obvious level of influence, namely in the use of specialists from academia and spiritual leaders to achieve Moscow’s foreign policy goals,” the report said.
The EPRS researchers referred to the report of the 2017 Swedish Institute for Defense Studies, which stated that Russia allegedly seeks to influence the Western expert community through various analytical centers, including the Valdai Club and the Russian Council on International Affairs.
Moscow, in turn, has repeatedly denied involvement in interference in the affairs of other states. So, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that all the allegations about Russia’s interference in elections in European countries and the United States are a fantasy.
“Without a single piece of evidence, we are accused, as you know, of interfering in elections not only in the United States, but also in European states. Recently, we were still accused of decisions being made in Moscow about which minister to appoint in South Africa. In general, there is no limit to this fantasy,” Lavrov said.
Moscow does not interfere in the affairs of other states, while the EU can practice such methods in relation to Russia, said political scientist Oleg Matveychev, a professor at the HSE, in a conversation with RT.
“As for all sorts of cyber-attacks and other interventions … A typical story everytime we are accused of something, it means that they are the ones who are doing it against Russia,” the expert emphasized.
As noted in the document, the European Union has been attempting to combat the so-called pro-Kremlin disinformation since 2015, when the East StratCom Task Force task force on strategic communications was created.
Furthermore, the document spoke of strengthening NATO’s cooperation with the EU in the fight against hybrid threats. In particular, in response to the Russian “campaigns of influence”, the European Center of Excellence for Combating Hybrid Dangers was established, which is located in Finland.
It is also noted that in December last year, the European Union officially presented a plan to “counter disinformation”, which envisages the creation of an alert system, as well as an increase in funding for structures involved in this activity from $1.9 million in 2018 to $ 5 million in 2019.
“Judging by the reports that periodically released to the public, these centers are combating absolutely nothing. The necessity of their existence is justified by nothing at all,” said Alexey Mukhin, General Director of the Center for Political Information.
MORE ON THE TOPIC: