For the first time in recent history the East Stratcom taskforce is going to be funded straight out of the EU budget. This is largely due to key issues and concerns highlighted in the summit, as it was found the threats from fake news and cyber attacks have dramatically increased over recent months.
The East Stratcom team was set up in 2015 as a part of the European Union which focuses on the active and efficient communication of new EU activities and policies. The East Stratcom teams intention is simply to develop the communication materials regarding the EU and combat against any disinformation campaigns.
But why is there so much new speculation and interest in this campaign if it’s been around since 2015? The difference we’re seeing now is that the taskforce is going to dedicate all their time and energy into specifically Russia.
Increased EU Funding
Countering the disinformation, fake news and cyber attacks related to Russia have been announced as one of the EU’s biggest priorities ever since the summit. Due to this, the East Stratcom taskforce will no longer be relying on gaining funding from EU member states or from distracting from other budget lines.
The EU is now offering a staggering contribution of €1.1m (roughly £980,000) per year from their budget from next year, 2018 all the way up to 2020. As you can see, given this amount of funding, the impact of fake news will reach crisis levels if these preliminary precautions aren’t sought out now and put into action.
Donald Tusk, the European council president is quoted saying “cyber-attacks, fake news, hybrid war” were the most dangerous threats to our society in this day and age. He continues “We have to keep very cautious, vigilant and also honest. If we want to protect ourselves, if we want to help our partners, we have to be very aware about the threat inside the EU.” This was after a summit with prestigious EU leaders and further counterparts in Eastern Europe and Caucasus last Friday.
We mustn’t forget Theresa May’s speech recently in which the U.K’s prime minister accused Russia of foul play and meddling in important elections. Further than that, May accused Russia of inserting negative propaganda and fake stories within the media to weaponise certain information and create unrest in western society.
What Happens Next?
Notoriously, the rise in fake news in both Spanish and Russian regarding the Catalan independence referendum has sparked people’s interest and ignited these two organisations to truly work together to ensure the best efforts are put forward in creating a non-biased, spoken truth in the media surrounding EU policy and European news.
Theresa May spoke out at last Friday’s summit to say that “This summit highlights the crucial importance of the European countries working together to protect our shared values and ideals.”. May vows to ensure her support in the issue and advocates that the UK is unconditionally committed to the security of the whole of Europe.
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