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EU includes cyber and false news among its biggest challenges

Theresa May urges to keep her eyes open to Russia's hostile actions

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EU includes cyber and false news among its biggest challenges

The cyber, false news and in general so-called hybrid war, which uses unconventional instruments to destabilize, have become "one of biggest problems" of European Union (EU). The President of European Council, Donald Tusk, has launched this alert at conclusion of Summit held this Friday to leaders of Community countries with those of neighborhood that y share with Russia. Without referring directly to this country, Tusk has referred to "consequences of interventions against [European] values on both sides of Atlantic" and has urged m to remain vigilant.

The ties that Brussels has established with its eastern neighbours aim to project stability in a region very exposed to Russian influence. But that task requires a previous job. "If we want to protect ourselves and help our neighbors, we must first be aware of threats within EU," said Tusk, a former Polish prime minister.

Although EU insists that this approach to Eastern countries — Ukraine, Moldova, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Belarus — is not directed against anyone, warning messages against Russia overflew Summit. The Spanish foreign minister, Alfonso Dastis, urged his colleagues to cooperate "against threats, such as cyber, that transcend national borders." Spain is now more responsive to this problem after having detected attempts at Russian interference in Catalan crisis.

More explicit was British Prime Minister Theresa May, one of few leaders who mentioned directly to Russia. May spoke of "Russian aggressions in Georgia and Ukraine" and alluded to EU's support to address misinformation and cyber. "We must keep our eyes open to hostile actions by countries like Russia, which threaten growth potential of this neighborhood and try to break our collective strength," he had assured May on his arrival at summit. The United Kingdom is one of European countries that pays more attention to this issue, having noticed episodes of interference from Moscow environment both in Brexit campaign and in general elections last June.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel also appealed to need to accompany eastern neighbours in front of a Russia "that curbs prosperity in area," according to sources consulted. In public, German leader considered "very important for European security" appointment with eastern neighbours. Among countries most sensitized to Russian influence, Poland advocated to ensure security in eastern region. "We have to deal with hostile propaganda," asked Prime minister, Beata Szydlo.

territorial integrity

The joint declaration signed by 28 Community countries with six that make up Eastern Partnership includes — also without naming Russia — need to curb se threats. The Partners advocate defending " territorial integrity, independence and sovereignty" of all signatory States, as well as promoting cybersecurity. And y support need to "reinforce strategic communication efforts", expression used by EU to combat disinformation from external agents. Spain particularly insisted on including in communiqué reference to territorial integrity of countries.

The Oriental Association was born in 2009 as a European attempt to attract neighbors it shares with Russia. The Kremlin welcomed it with hostility, especially rapprochement between Brussels and Ukraine, a key to maintaining its influence in region. The most tense moment of this alliance occurred at end of 2013, when n-President Ukrainian, Víctor Yanukovych, rejected at last minute an association agreement with EU to stay in orbit of Moscow. Yanukovych was deposed, but conflict led to Kremlin's intervention in Ukrainian war, with Crimean takeover as a climax.

Since n, Oriental Association remains, but with continual ups and downs. On one hand, EU would like to give a perspective of integration in club to countries far removed from community standards, with a European citizenship increasingly reluctant to open door to neighbours. On or hand, Russia's enormous attraction places some of countries of region closer to Moscow than to Brussels. "This is not an enlargement or accession summit," settled President of European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker.

Race to unlock Brexit

The ultimatum that Brussels has given to United Kingdom to present concrete proposals that unlock Brexit expires in a few days. The President of European Council, Donald Tusk, moved this Friday to prime minister, Theresa May, that immovable deadline to communicate se divorce plans culminates on December 4. Both leaders met for an hour in Brussels. The British premier accepted that calendar, according to a European source of discussion, which he defined as "long and honest."

Before seeing Tusk, British leader took a few minutes to Angela Merkel — although meeting was not planned — and met separately with leaders of Belgium, Denmark, and Lithuania. All efforts follow same wish: to try to make 27 states that remain in EU ready to move to second phase of Brexit, which will shape future relationship at summit of 15 December. To do this, Tusk demands initiatives on how to avoid a hard border between Ireland and Norrn Ireland (belonging to United Kingdom), as well as clarity in so-called exit invoice.


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