Romanian MEP calls for EU-funded anti-Russian propaganda project

MEP Siegfried Mureșan wants €3 million of next year's EU budget to be set aside for a new anti-propaganda project. [European Parliament]

Romanian MEP Siegfried Mureșan (EPP) has proposed that the EU fund a project to the tune of €3 million aimed at combatting Russian propaganda on social media networks. EURACTIV Romania reports.

The People’s Movement Party lawmaker has proposed that next year’s EU budget set aside funding that can be used to finance a pilot project targeting Russian propaganda and disinformation.

The project would entail training or hiring specialised staff in the European Commission’s representations across the bloc and in its delegations in its eastern neighbourhood, who would monitor social networks and the media in order to combat propaganda and fake news.

Romanian lawmaker Mureșan, who is vice-chair of the European Parliament’s Committee on Budgets, has requested funding of €3 million in order to get the initiative off the ground.

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“The purpose of the pilot project is to improve how both the European Commission and the European External Action Service (EEAS) delegations in the Eastern Partnership and the East Strategic Communication Team (EastStraCom) use their resources,” the MEP said in a statement seen by HotNews.ro.

Currently, EastStraCom operates with just 10 employees and on a shoestring budget of just €200,000 and is “not equipped to deal with the substantial, wide-spread, publicly-funded disinformation campaign”, Mureșan warned.

The planned project would finance a “comprehensive and consistent media monitoring across the region, including large data flows”, he added.

When Chancellor Angela Merkel met with Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday (2 May), the German leader insisted she would fight the upcoming federal election “on the basis of my convictions”, when asked by journalists if she was concerned about potential Russian meddling in the campaign.

Putin refuted the suggestion that his country had interfered with the US presidential election last year and dismissed the allegations as mere “rumours”.

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