EU sets up temporary task force to combat foreign interference in elections

The EU will set up a temporary task force to monitor attempts at foreign influence on the European elections in June, Belgian prime minister Alexander De Croo said after the first day of a European summit in Brussels.

"We want to take stock very frequently of what we see in terms of disinformation campaigns, share this information with member states and work with national judicial authorities to take action," De Croo said on Wednesday night.

The International Political Crisis Response Mechanism (EPCR), a coordination mechanism within the European institutions that was used during the pandemic, will be used for this purpose. As president of the Council of the EU, Belgium will help to organise this, De Croo said.

The temporary mechanism will be used immediately in the upcoming election campaign, with the possibility of setting up a more permanent system in the future. In the longer term, the European public prosecutor's mandate to indict illegal interference could be extended.

De Croo and his Czech counterpart, Peter Fiala, briefed the other leaders at the summit on investigations into a pro-Russian network trying to influence the European Parliament elections from 6-9 June. Both Belgian and Czech security services are looking into the situation. De Croo announced last week that the federal prosecutor's office had opened an investigation.


Prime minister Alexander De Croo © PHOTO KENZO TRIBOUILLARD / AFP

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