European Commission calls on national political parties to join efforts to ensure free and fair elections in Europe

Ballots 2019

(Arnaud Jaegers, Unsplash)

This article is brought to you in association with the European Commission.


In September 2018, as part of the State of the Union, President Juncker proposed measures to bolster European democracy and protect free and fair elections in Europe. Ahead of the European elections, Commissioner Vera Jourová has written to national political parties calling on them to ensure transparency of political advertising, to be ready to face cyberattacks and to respect European data protection rules during the campaign.

Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President said: “We know there are forces which are trying to disrupt our societies, meddle in our elections and subvert our democracies. They will most likely step up their malicious activities in the run-up and during the European elections. We cannot be naïve. It’s time we too step up our democratic defences as soon as possible so that people will be better informed, and their data better protected.”

Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality said, “Our elections and ultimately our democracies are challenged by new threats.  Today, I call on all political parties to play their part in securing free and fair elections. Voters deserve transparency to make an informed choice. Online political advertising should be as transparent as the advertising you receive in your mailbox or on the market. Political parties also need to secure their networks to prevent cyberattacks and fully respect data protection rules. I expect all political actors to take their responsibility; at the same time the new sanctions introduced will also ensure the rules are respected.”

The package of measures  adopted in September aims to bolster European democracy and protect free and fair elections in Europe. It includes a series of actions addressed to national and European political parties and foundations. Today, the Commission calls on national parties to ensure transparency of the sources and amount of campaign funding for online activities during the upcoming European Parliament election campaigns. To increase this transparency the Commission urges national political parties, foundations and campaign organisations to:

  •          ensure citizens can easily recognise online paid political advertisements and communications, and the party, foundation or organisation behind them;
  •          make information available about their spending for online activities on their websites. This includes paid online political advertisements and communications, as well as information on any targeting criteria used in the dissemination of such advertisements and communications;
  •          make their paid online political advertisements and communications accessible through their websites.

The Commission also reminds political parties and campaign organisations to implement appropriate measures to be able to tackle cyberattacks and recalls their obligations concerning the protection of personal data. Political parties that do not respect data protection rules to deliberately influence or attempt to influence the outcome of European elections will be subject to new sanctions, introduced by the amended Regulation on the European political parties and foundations at the European level, which is expected to enter into force in April. Sanctions could amount to 5% of the annual budget of the European political party or foundation concerned. In addition, those found to be in breach would not be able to apply for funding from the general budget of the European Union in the year in which the sanction is imposed.These sanctions target infringements of rules on the protection of personal data being used by the European political parties or foundations to deliberately influence or attempt to influence the outcome of European elections. The European Commission calls on Member States to introduce similar sanctions at national level.

Next steps

Following the European Parliament elections in May, the Commission will prepare a report, including on the implementation of the Elections’ Recommendation, based amongst others on input from the political parties.

Background

In September 2018, President Juncker presented the Elections package to better protect our democratic processes from manipulation by third countries or private interests. This came as a response to challenges posed by online campaigning and to threats observed in recent elections and referenda directed at discrediting and delegitimising elections in Europe. It includes a set of measures which aim to increase transparency in online campaign activities, assist stakeholders in the application of data protection rules in the electoral context, improve coordination between responsible national authorities and among Member States at the European level, and introduce the possibility to impose sanctions for the illegal use of personal data in order to deliberately influence the outcome of the European elections.

The European Parliament welcomed the package in its Resolution on the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica case adopted on 25 October 2018. The Council of national Ministers set out detailed expressions of support and commitments to action on the part of the Member States in its Conclusions on securing free and fair European elections of 19 February 2019.

Responding to the Recommendation, Member States have established national networks to formalise cooperation among national authorities to jointly identify threats and gaps, share good practices, and exchange on how to apply electoral rules online . These national networks have met twice at a European level as the election cooperation network, assisted by the Commission, to share expertise and best practices among the Member States including on threats, gaps and enforcement, most recently on 27 February. The next meeting will take place on 4 April.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Challenges facing the COVID-19 vaccination campaigns

Civilian deaths in Afghanistan hit record high – UN

Visiting North Korea, UN relief chief spotlights funding shortfall to meet humanitarian needs

Meet Alice, the battery-powered plane that could herald the age of electric air travel

Britain in and out of the EU

Statement by the Brexit Steering Group on UK government White paper

Cocaine and opium production worldwide hit ‘absolute record highs’ – major threat to public health says UN study

Ebola: EU releases additional €3.5 million to tackle epidemic

Voices of young climate action activists ‘give me hope’ says UN chief

European Semester 2019 Spring Package: Commission issues recommendations for Member States to advance sustainable and inclusive economic growth

Easing ‘classroom crisis’ in Côte d’Ivoire, brick by (plastic) brick

The United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union will impact young people’s future the most

5 ways COVID-19 has changed workforce management

Parliament to ask for the suspension of EU-US deal on bank data

Coronavirus Global Response: European Commission pledges €300 million to Gavi

Trump’s MAGA policy remains unchanged as EU warns to impose additional retaliation tariffs on US products

European Defence Fund on track with €525 million for Eurodrone and other joint research and industrial projects

COVID-19 creates a perfect storm for the extreme weather season

Healthcare for refugees: a necessary symbiosis of medicine and politics

EU climate law: MEPs want to increase emission reductions target to 60% by 2030

A geared turbofan at Pratt & Whitney's production hub in West Palm Beach (copyright: Pratt & Whitney - a UTC Company- 2018; Source: Pratt & Whitney's website, media center)

The EU Commission approves UTC’s acquisition of Rockwell Collins under conditions

Slovakia and its failure to abide by the European law

How to help an ageing population stay wealthy for longer

Soil pollution ‘jeopardizing’ life on Earth, UN agency warns on World Day

“Beyond the beach: tackling plastic pollution upstream”, a Sting Exclusive by Erik Solheim, Head of UN Environment

Google’s bare truth: Europe’s Chief denies EU accusations but admits they “don’t always get it right”

FROM THE FIELD: Persons with disabilities bike towards sustainability

Our health systems are under pressure. Here are 9 ways to remedy that

Hardware is a cybersecurity risk. Here’s what we need to know

Hatred ‘a threat to everyone’, urges Guterres calling for global effort to end xenophobia and ‘loathsome rhetoric’

What talent means in the post-COVID-19 workplace

What will Germany look like after the next election?

New legislation on transparency and sustainability of the EU risk assessment model in the food chain

This woman changed the world of work – and you’ve probably never heard of her

‘Grave consequences’ await if new deadly escalation of violence in Gaza continues – top UN official

The Dead Sea is drying up, and these two countries have a plan to save it

African elephants under continued threat of poaching, warns UN-backed report

AIESEC Vlog

Four million have now fled Venezuela, UN ramps up aid to children who remain

Ercom, cutting-edge Telco solutions from Europe

As ride-hailing firms drive into the future, who is being left behind?

Syrian crisis: €5.3 billion mobilised by donors for 2021 and beyond at 5th Brussels Conference

Carnage must stop in northwest Syria demands Lowcock, as attacks intensify

New round of bargaining for the 2014 EU budget late in autumn

Sudan: European Union provides €30 million in humanitarian assistance

At last Germany to negotiate the costs for a really cohesive Eurozone

UN evaluates progress in improving peacekeeping performance

The US + Britain trivialize mainland Europe, NATO and the EU

Khashoggi case highlights ‘very worrying practice’ of overseas abductions, says UN expert

What does global health translate into?

How Costa Rica’s environment minister talks to his daughter about climate change

Polluted lungs: health in the center of environment discussion

Here are 3 lessons Europe can learn from China’s flourishing start-ups

Geopolitics and investment in emerging markets after COVID-19

Canada needs to increase foreign aid flows in line with its renewed engagement

EU Ombudsman investigates the European Commission

Coronavirus: EU global response to fight the pandemic

SCADA Security Conference 2017 in Prague, Czech Republic

Brexit: Six more months of political paralysis or a May-Corbyn compromise?

COVID-19 vaccination campaigns and their challenges

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s