European Parliament calls for action over Russian meddling reports

Following claims that Russia may have bribed certain MEPs to support its propaganda, members of the European Parliament demanded an immediate debate and inquiry.

Fearing the influence of the controversy on the approaching June European Parliament elections, political groups in the European Parliament announced that they would debate the matter and urge prompt action regarding the accusations of Russian meddling, Politico reported.

Russia paid MEPs to promote its propaganda – Belgian Prime Minister

On March 28, Alexander De Croo, the prime minister of Belgium, said that Russia had contacted MEPs and “paid them to promote Russian propaganda”, Euractiv wrote.

The Belgian Prime Minister talked about the “close cooperation” of Belgian and Czech intelligence services in disclosing the Russian influence network.

President of Renew group asked for urgent debate in European Parliament

Valérie Hayer, the president of the liberal Renew group and the front-runner for the European Union election for French President Emmanuel Macron’s party, responded with an open letter to European Parliament’s President Roberta Metsola.

We urge you to launch an immediate and transparent investigation, in cooperation with national authorities, to uncover the scale of the influence operation within this house and allegations of potential corruption. If sitting MEPs or candidates in the upcoming European elections have taken money from or been corrupted by the Russia Government or their proxies, they must be exposed.

From Valérie Hayer’s letter to Roberta Metsola

Hayer demanded an urgent debate in the European Parliament and resolution in the next plenary session on April 10–11 in Brussels.

Czech officials disclosed Russia’s influence operation in Europe

This comes after an investigation by Czech officials revealed what it said was a pro-Russian influence operation in Europe involving pro-Russian Ukrainian politician Viktor Medvedchuk, a close Putin’s ally who is now in Moscow, and the news website Voice of Europe, according to reports in the media.

Petr Fiala, the prime minister of the Czech Republic, stated on X that other nations have begun looking into pro-Russian spy networks as a result of their efforts. 

As a result, ahead of the EU elections in two months, the political factions in the European Parliament are now calling for measures to protect the EU institution and its reputation.

The European People’s Party and the Socialists and Democrats, the two biggest factions of politics in Parliament, haven’t immedeately responded to the accusations. 

The EU institutions have been preparing to defend Europe’s democratic processes against foreign meddling. In the wake of the 2022 Qatargate scandal, where a number of MEPs faced prosecution on charges of receiving bribes from Qatar in exchange for favorable influence, this is particularly relevant.

European Parliament’s resolution expressing alarm over Russian meddling in EU democratic processes

In February, the European Parliament passed a resolution expressing alarm over Russian meddling in EU democratic processes “through both traditional media outlets and social media.” It urged the European Commission to take immediate action to stop external meddling in the bloc. 

For Russian media outlets listed on EU sanction lists, the European Parliament has blocked access to both the Parliament and its multimedia facilities.

This was a response to the disinformation that Russian media, notably through state-owned structures, created and disseminated over Putin’s all-out war against Ukraine started in February 2022.

In our investigation we discovered pro-Russian news websites networks in Europe. Find out more in this article:

Pro-Russian websites network in Europe that serves Russia’s information warfare
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