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The evolving consequences of the coronavirus 'infodemic': How viral false coronavirus-related information affects people and societies across the world

23-09-2020

Massive waves of information, including extensive amounts of false information have accompanied the coronavirus pandemic. False information is being spread by a number of different actors for various reasons. Deliberately deceptive (geo-)political disinformation campaigns to undermine democracies – including the European Union (EU) – have been spread by authoritarian state actors and their proxies. Extremist groups have exploited the situation to spread their messaging. Others have propagated misleading ...

Massive waves of information, including extensive amounts of false information have accompanied the coronavirus pandemic. False information is being spread by a number of different actors for various reasons. Deliberately deceptive (geo-)political disinformation campaigns to undermine democracies – including the European Union (EU) – have been spread by authoritarian state actors and their proxies. Extremist groups have exploited the situation to spread their messaging. Others have propagated misleading information for financial gain. At the same time, a combination of widespread anxiety as well as increased use of social media during lockdowns in many countries have provide fertile ground for 'organic' false information and conspiracy theories by individual users who do not intentionally want to deceive anyone, but inadvertently become part of the problem by spreading and/or amplifying misleading messages. The repercussions of the 'infodemic' are still evolving, but have impacted the ability of authorities to effectively deal with the pandemic, with the infodemic is aggravating the spread of the virus itself. Different regions of the world have been challenged by a variety of types of false information and both general and region-specific narratives – many of which have impacted public health, the economy, geopolitics and societal stability.

Foreign interference in democracies: Understanding the threat, and evolving responses

22-09-2020

Across the world, democratic societies, institutions, processes and values are under increasing external and internal attack. The coronavirus crisis has, meanwhile, exacerbated the systemic struggle between democracy and authoritarianism, prompting authoritarian state and non-state actors to deploy a broad range of overt and covert instruments in their bid to destabilise their democratic counterparts. Against this backdrop, and following a string of examples of hostile meddling by authoritarian actors ...

Across the world, democratic societies, institutions, processes and values are under increasing external and internal attack. The coronavirus crisis has, meanwhile, exacerbated the systemic struggle between democracy and authoritarianism, prompting authoritarian state and non-state actors to deploy a broad range of overt and covert instruments in their bid to destabilise their democratic counterparts. Against this backdrop, and following a string of examples of hostile meddling by authoritarian actors to undermine democratic governing processes in countries such as Ukraine, the United Kingdom, the United States (US), Canada and Australia, the focus on foreign interference continues to sharpen. Among the EU's institutions, the European Parliament − arguably the flagship of European democracy − is pushing the policy response to foreign interference to the top of the political agenda. Among other initiatives and actions, in October 2019 it passed a resolution on countering foreign interference and has set up a special committee on foreign interference, whose constituent meeting is scheduled to take place in September 2020.

Disruption by technology: Impacts on politics, economics and society

21-09-2020

Technological development has long been considered as a disruptive force, provoking change at many levels, from the routine daily activities of individuals to dramatic competition between global superpowers. This analysis examines disruption caused by technologies in a series of key areas of politics, economics and society. It focuses on seven fields: the economic system, the military and defence, democratic debates and the 'infosphere', social norms, values and identities, international relations ...

Technological development has long been considered as a disruptive force, provoking change at many levels, from the routine daily activities of individuals to dramatic competition between global superpowers. This analysis examines disruption caused by technologies in a series of key areas of politics, economics and society. It focuses on seven fields: the economic system, the military and defence, democratic debates and the 'infosphere', social norms, values and identities, international relations, and the legal and regulatory system. It also presents surveillance as an example of how technological disruption across these domains can converge to propel other phenomena. The key disruptive force of 2020 is non-technological, namely coronavirus. The pandemic is used here as an opportunity to examine how technological disruption interacts with other forms of disruption.

The poisoning of Alexey Navalny

21-09-2020

EU-Russia relations hit a new low in August 2020, after Alexey Navalny, one of Russia's leading opposition activists, was poisoned by a banned nerve agent. Although the perpetrators have not yet been identified, the attack has to be seen in the context of repression and growing discontent against Putin. In response to this clear breach of international law and human rights, the EU is considering additional sanctions against Moscow.

EU-Russia relations hit a new low in August 2020, after Alexey Navalny, one of Russia's leading opposition activists, was poisoned by a banned nerve agent. Although the perpetrators have not yet been identified, the attack has to be seen in the context of repression and growing discontent against Putin. In response to this clear breach of international law and human rights, the EU is considering additional sanctions against Moscow.

Outlook for the special European Council meeting of 24-25 September 2020

21-09-2020

At the special European Council on 24-25 September 2020, EU Heads of State or Government are expected to dedicate much of their time to external relations issues, notably to a strategic discussion on Turkey and a debate on relations with China. Continuing illegal Turkish drilling activities in the eastern Mediterranean have made the former more urgent, while the latter is long overdue. The European Council is also likely to adopt extensive conclusions regarding the single market, industrial and digital ...

At the special European Council on 24-25 September 2020, EU Heads of State or Government are expected to dedicate much of their time to external relations issues, notably to a strategic discussion on Turkey and a debate on relations with China. Continuing illegal Turkish drilling activities in the eastern Mediterranean have made the former more urgent, while the latter is long overdue. The European Council is also likely to adopt extensive conclusions regarding the single market, industrial and digital policy, reiterating the key objective of achieving strategic autonomy, whilst maintaining an open economy. EU leaders are expected to call for development of EU autonomy in the space sector, a more integrated defence industrial base, and for the presentation of a 'digital compass' setting out the EU's digital ambitions for 2030 in its move towards digital sovereignty. The European Council is also likely to seek development of new industrial alliances and the removal of remaining unjustified barriers, particularly in services. EU leaders will also take stock of the coronavirus situation and review the coordination of national and European measures.

Plenary round-up – Brussels, September 2020

18-09-2020

The September 2020 plenary session was the sixth conducted with Members participating remotely, using the alternative voting procedure put in place in March by Parliament's Bureau, although a majority were again present in Brussels. As well as the Commission President's traditional State of the Union address, Parliament held a joint debate on the risk of breach of the rule of law and LGBTI-free zones in Poland. Parliament also debated European Commission statements on the preparation of the special ...

The September 2020 plenary session was the sixth conducted with Members participating remotely, using the alternative voting procedure put in place in March by Parliament's Bureau, although a majority were again present in Brussels. As well as the Commission President's traditional State of the Union address, Parliament held a joint debate on the risk of breach of the rule of law and LGBTI-free zones in Poland. Parliament also debated European Commission statements on the preparation of the special European Council focusing on Turkey's actions in the eastern Mediterranean, on the consequences for the single market of EU coordination of sanitary measures in the ongoing pandemic, on combatting sexual abuse and exploitation of children, and on the need for a humanitarian EU response to the situation in the Moria refugee camp. Parliament also debated statements from the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borell, on the situation in Belarus, in Lebanon and the poisoning of Alexei Navalny. Parliament also voted on legislative proposals and resolutions, including on arms exports, the Union Civil Protection Mechanism, the EU Association Agreement with Georgia, protecting world forests, EU-African security cooperation in the Sahel, type approval of motor vehicles and the importance of urban and green infrastructure.

Peace and security in 2020: Evaluating the EU approach to tackling the Sahel conflicts

16-09-2020

The Peace and Security series evaluates European Union (EU) performance in the field of peace and security in a specific geographical region each year. This, the third thematic study in the series, focuses on the EU's contribution to resolving the conflicts in the Sahel, restoring stability and building peace in the region. The EU has adopted a comprehensive and integrated approach to tackling the numerous political, security and defence, humanitarian, development, and environmental challenges facing ...

The Peace and Security series evaluates European Union (EU) performance in the field of peace and security in a specific geographical region each year. This, the third thematic study in the series, focuses on the EU's contribution to resolving the conflicts in the Sahel, restoring stability and building peace in the region. The EU has adopted a comprehensive and integrated approach to tackling the numerous political, security and defence, humanitarian, development, and environmental challenges facing the five countries in the Sahel: Chad, Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger, issuing a strategy specifically for the region in 2011. This evaluation first outlines the complex local and geopolitical dynamics framing the conflicts in the Sahel. It then assesses the various aspects of the EU's approach to supporting peace efforts in the region in an already crowded international landscape. The study also analyses the European Parliament's engagement with the Sahel region, considers the challenges that the EU (and other international actors) have faced in the Sahel, and presents options for improving the effectiveness of EU action. A parallel study, published separately, provides an overview of current EU action on peace and security, while a third presents the 2020 Normandy Index. The studies have been drafted as a contribution to the Normandy World Peace Forum in October 2020.

The G5 Sahel and the European Union: The challenges of security cooperation with a regional grouping

15-09-2020

The August 2020 coup in Mali recalls the coup the country witnessed in 2012 and highlights the growing instability and insecurity the Sahel region has been facing for a decade now. The combined effect of population growth, poverty, climate change, unsustainable land tenure and marginalisation of peripheral populations has been fuelling community-based tensions and anger towards governments in the region. Weak state power and porous borders have enabled the proliferation of jihadist and other armed ...

The August 2020 coup in Mali recalls the coup the country witnessed in 2012 and highlights the growing instability and insecurity the Sahel region has been facing for a decade now. The combined effect of population growth, poverty, climate change, unsustainable land tenure and marginalisation of peripheral populations has been fuelling community-based tensions and anger towards governments in the region. Weak state power and porous borders have enabled the proliferation of jihadist and other armed groups and the intensification of violence. In 2014, as a collective answer to the growing security threat, Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger created the G5 Sahel, an intergovernmental cooperation framework seeking to coordinate the security and development policies of its member states. In 2017, the G5 Sahel Joint Force was launched with the aim of fighting terrorism and organised crime in the region. In addition to its own security and development strategy in the region, the EU has developed close links with the G5 Sahel in support of its work towards sustainable peace and development, including regular political dialogues and three CSDP missions to train and advise the G5 Sahel national armies and Joint Force. The recent coup in Mali has led to the suspension of some forms of cooperation between the EU and the G5 Sahel. However, while efforts to find common ground for action and to build a lasting partnership with unstable countries remains a challenge, the EU is not ready to leave this strategic field to other players.

The future of multilateralism and strategic partnerships

11-09-2020

The coronavirus pandemic of 2020 has exacerbated global geopolitical trends, including the struggle to uphold multilateralism in a climate of growing nationalism, protectionism and rising great power competition. At the same time, it has demonstrated the need for multilateral cooperation for the effective mitigation of cross-border threats, including health crises. Within this environment, the European Union (EU), a multilateral entity in itself, has illustrated the relevance of cooperation. Beyond ...

The coronavirus pandemic of 2020 has exacerbated global geopolitical trends, including the struggle to uphold multilateralism in a climate of growing nationalism, protectionism and rising great power competition. At the same time, it has demonstrated the need for multilateral cooperation for the effective mitigation of cross-border threats, including health crises. Within this environment, the European Union (EU), a multilateral entity in itself, has illustrated the relevance of cooperation. Beyond its internal strengthening, the EU has set the defence and reform of multilateralism as one of its key priorities under the current European Commission. This will require a more coordinated and autonomous EU foreign policy, a smart approach towards the escalating US–China rivalry, reinvigorated cooperation with major democracies, and mobilisation of the EU's foreign policy tools, widely defined. As coronavirus leaves parts of the world more fragile and vulnerable, it also precipitates the need for a reformed multilateral system 'fit for purpose' and able to address the challenges of the future. Thinking through new practices to enrich multilateralism will be important for the further development of international cooperation.

Strategic sovereignty for Europe

11-09-2020

The current coronavirus pandemic has exposed the vulnerability of the European Union to external actors, and has enhanced its progress towards 'strategic sovereignty'. This notion signifies the ability to act autonomously, to rely on one's own resources in key strategic areas and to cooperate with partners whenever needed. To fully develop such strategic sovereignty, the EU needs to show political will and strengthen its capacity to act. It has to give up its silo approach to policies and address ...

The current coronavirus pandemic has exposed the vulnerability of the European Union to external actors, and has enhanced its progress towards 'strategic sovereignty'. This notion signifies the ability to act autonomously, to rely on one's own resources in key strategic areas and to cooperate with partners whenever needed. To fully develop such strategic sovereignty, the EU needs to show political will and strengthen its capacity to act. It has to give up its silo approach to policies and address them in a more coordinated manner. It also needs to move progressively towards 'smart power': relying on 'soft power' tools, whilst incrementally developing 'hard power' ones, including a fully-fledged EU defence instrument. Deepening the European project, including by tapping into the still unused/under-used potential of the Lisbon Treaty, will also bring the EU closer to strategic sovereignty, while also allowing it to reap the full benefits of the integration project. A strategically sovereign EU would represent a protective shield preventing powers that are increasingly influential on the global scene from turning it into their 'playground'.

Próximos actos

23-09-2020
EPRS online policy roundtable: The United Nations at 75
Otro acto -
EPRS
24-09-2020
AFCO: Hearing on Transnational lists and the Spitzenkandidaten principle
Audiencia -
AFCO
28-09-2020
Seventh meeting of the Joint Parliamentary Scrutiny Group (JPSG) on Europol
Otro acto -
LIBE

Socios