Gas, media: Glucksmann commission warns of dependence on Russia and China
An army of Russian spies in Brussels
Regarding Russia, the text considers that “the EU’s energy dependence on Russia has created major problems for its energy security after the start of Russia’s aggressive war against Ukraine.” He also says he is concerned about Russia’s attempts to manipulate communication channels, “to manipulate the discourse on global food and energy security, to blame the West for rising food prices due to its sanctions against Russia.” In the section devoted to the covert financing of political activities by foreign actors and donors, he reiterates his concern about “regular revelations of massive Russian financing of political parties and politicians in a number of democratic countries.” Moscow’s massive intervention in the separatist movement in Catalonia.
It also takes aim at EU political elites – without naming them, specifically citing former chancellor Gerhard Schröder – who push Gazprom’s agenda and “encourage continued support”. Gas supply from Russia”. The report also looks at the delicate topic of “instrumentalization of migrants”, citing the case of Belarus sending migrants to European borders in the fall of 2021.
The committee also refers to the growing influence of foreign authoritarian state activities on EU intelligence agencies. In a lengthy investigation, a Belgian newspaper cited the Russian embassy in Brussels as housing an “army of spies” particularly interested in gathering sensitive information about European institutions or even NATO headquarters, and that it was “a mini communications center with technological and other capabilities for Russian intelligence.” village”.
Risks of economic dependence on China
As European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen threatened on Tuesday (17 January) to launch investigations if EU public procurement or other markets are distorted by Chinese subsidies, the report notes that Beijing has “invested around three billion euros in European media companies over the past decade”, adding that “China’s example could be followed by other states with similar ideologically authoritarian policies”. It also focuses on the risks of “economic dependence, espionage and subversion”, considering the influence of foreign companies in important infrastructures. Of particular note is the case of Chinese shipping company Cosco, which has “acquired majority stakes in more than 20 European ports” as it prepares to enter the port capital of Hamburg, Europe’s third largest port.
The report also points to Confucius Institutes spread across Europe – there are still more than 180, including 17 in France – as well as “a significant number of European researchers in Austria and the Czech Republic, as well as other countries. “Other European countries directly funded by the People’s Republic of China, focusing on artificial intelligence, quantum technologies, integrated circuits, space exploration, new materials, neuroscience and biotechnology”. The Committee nevertheless welcomes the implementation of the European Global Gateway project, an ambitious infrastructure investment project worth €300 billion by 2027 that aims to counter China’s New Silk Roads project.
In the midst of Qatargate and MEPs having to see parliamentary immunity waived for failing to declare their visits to Qatar, we can nevertheless deplore the short paragraph devoted to the scandal, in which the committee is content to “condemn in the strongest possible terms”. Regarding Qatar’s attempts to influence the members, former deputies and employees of the European Parliament with their corrupt practices, which constitute serious foreign interference in the democratic processes of the EU.
The Raphaël Gluckmann commission, which continues its work, should start hearings on “Qatargate” from January 26. Then, until the final version of the report is adopted, corrections should be added during the review of the preliminary report until the end of January.
What the INGE2 Commission recommends
In order to combat external influences, the report crthe creation of a European structure responsible for regular work on the manipulation and interference of foreign information. It encourages the EU to make a collective effort to raise awareness of foreign interference, to regularly identify “high-risk” countries for interference, and to strengthen the EU’s strategic communication in response to mass campaigns by adversary countries. to determine the strategy of combating information manipulation in the context of future elections, to increase their investments in cyber security, as well as to establish commissions of inquiry into foreign interference in all European national parliaments. The report also asks the European Commission and the Council of Europe to exclude the use of equipment from high-risk countries, citing Huawei, ZTE, Kaspersky, Nuctech, etc. As for mass media, the commission proposes comprehensive measures to ensure transparency in public media financing and private media financing. in the context of In the event of attacks against submarine cables and pipelines, the European External Action Service should develop monitoring measures to protect the global digital connection of submarine cables. Finally, given the ongoing revelations of massive funding of European political parties by Russia, the commission recommends the creation of a map of foreign funding in European countries before outright bans on foreign funding of political activity.