The European Parliament voted to condemn funds to Marine Le Pen’s Front National party of France, possible funds to Matteo Salvini’s Lega Party of Italy and to Freedom Party of Austria.
Last week in Strasbourg the European Parliament voted its Resolution on foreign electoral interference and disinformation in national and European democratic processes.
The Resolution (click to read), adopted by 469, 143, 47, explains that attempts by state and non-state actors from third countries to exert influence on decision-making in the EU and its Member States, as well as putting pressure on the values enshrined in Article 2 of the TEU by means of malicious interference are part of a wider trend experienced by democracies worldwide.
Then, it underlines that foreign interference can take a myriad of forms, including disinformation campaigns on social media to shape public opinion, cyber-attacks targeting critical infrastructure related to elections, and direct and indirect financial support of political actors.
Concerning this last issue, French socialist Member Claude Moraes presented an amendment to say that even where laws place restrictions on the sources of political funding, foreign actors have found ways to circumvent them and have offered support to their allies by taking out loans with foreign banks, as in the case of the Front National in 2016, through purchase and commercial agreements, as in the case of the allegations reported by Der Spiegel and Süddeutsche Zeitung on 17 May 2019 against the Freedom Party of Austria and by Buzzfeed and L’Espresso on 10 July 2019 against Lega per Salvini Premier, and through the facilitation of financial activities, as reported by the British press in relation to the Leave.eu campaign.
The amendments was voted by S&D (socialist), RENEW (Liberal and Macron), GUE (Communist) and Greens. All other political Group, center and centre-right voted against.
However, on the final vote EPP joined the majority and the entire Resolution was adopted. It is interesting to note that the Members of Italian 5 Stars mouvement abstained on the amendment, which was against their former government partner (Lega Salvini), but voted the whole Resolution.
Members of Front National, Lega Salvini and Freedom Party of Austria obviously voted against the amendment and the Resolution.
Watch the recording of the debate: Click here. In all EU languages.
All other debates and decisions of the European Parliament Plenary Session, last 9 and 10 October: