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Policy Questions for HRVP-Nominee on Russia and China by European security experts

Spanien Außenminister Josep Borrell

As European specialists in foreign and security policy, we encourage the Members of the European Parliament to ask Josep Borell, the Nominee for EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy, these questions:

On Russia:

1. Do you agree that EU sanctions on Russia should be maintained as long as Russia occupies Crimea and organizes and supports war in Eastern Ukraine?

2. Which individuals to do you expect to be your key advisors on Russia-related issues?

3. What steps and measures will you take to reduce the influence of illicit Russian funding to European political movements and parties?

4. What measures will you take to increase Europeans’ digital resilience to foreign state-sponsored disinformation campaigns?

5. How will you make sure that the Commissioner for Neighbourhood won’t be influenced by bilateral issues (e.g. between Hungary and Ukraine)?

6. As High Representative, will you be defending the five guiding principles of EU-Russia relations? If you believe they should be modified, then in what way?

7. As the EU has a new cyber diplomacy sanction toolkit, have there already been instances where you believe it should have been applied?

8. Which strategies and measures will you propose to deter and raise costs for malign activity against the EU conducted by Russian entities?

9. As High Representative, will you explicitly criticise Russia when it spreads malign disinformation against the EU, its representatives, members, or policies?

10. Do you believe that Nord Stream 2 increases European energy security?

11. Will you allow your advisers to provide interviews to known disinformation outlets such as RT?

12. As High Representative, what safeguards would you attach to EU support of Syria’s reconstruction in order to ensure that our funds will not be used for repressive purposes?

13. The Government of Spain in the past has granted Russian naval vessels transiting to Syria access to its refuelling facilities in the Mediterranean. As High Commissioner, do you believe that the EU requires a policy or set of principles regarding indirect support of Russian military operations abroad?

14. Which specific measures from the EU Action Plan on Disinformation do you consider unsatisfactory, and which additional measures are you proposing for countering what the European Council calls “pro-Kremlin disinformation campaigns”?

15. Your predecessor was sometimes criticised for prioritising visits to the Southern Neighbourhood over the Eastern Partnership states. How will you apportion your visits between the two?

16. What is your plan for securing the withdrawal of Russian forces from eastern Ukraine, Crimea and Georgia?

17. Would you support efforts provide a NATO Membership Action Plan for Georgia, and would you favour reiteration of the Bucharest Summit commitment that ‘Georgia and Ukraine will become members of NATO’?

18. Do you agree with EU Ambassador to Russia Marcus Ederer that EU should perform “sweeping expansion of engagement with Russia in fields including 5G communications and personal data protection”?

On China:

19. How do you envision the future of intelligence sharing with NATO allies who raise legitimate concerns about cybersecurity and espionage? Should European 5G infrastructure depend on China’s technology?

20. What will be your response if China exerts pressure on individual EU member states?

21. How will you react if China decides to pressure or blackmail a single EU member state to coerce compliance with its policies?

22. How will you respond if China arbitrarily takes an EU citizen hostage for political reasons?

23. How will you support Canada in the matter of its two nationals’ arbitrary detention by Chinese entities?

24. Would you sign the letters currently signed by 22 nations criticizing China for its network of concentration camps for Uighurs in Xinjiang?

25. Which individuals to do you expect to be your key advisors on China-related issues?

26. How do you believe that the EU should support human rights lawyers in China, especially those who have been detained or prosecuted for demanding China’s compliance with its own constitution?

27. How can the EU give more substance to the EU-China Human Rights Dialogue? Will you urge the PRC to send more senior representatives to this forum? What specific topics should be on the agenda?

28. How can the EU counter Chinese policies in Africa that amount to ‘state capture’?

29. Do you believe that tech companies with known complicity in espionage on behalf of Chinese entities should be granted contracts in European telecommunications networks?

230. As High Representative, will you establish a strategic communications team at EEAS focused on China?

Coordinator:

Jakub Janda, Executive Director of European Values Center for Security Policy,  janda@evropskehodnoty.cz

Co-signed:

  • Willem Aldershoff, Former head of unit, European Commission, NL
  • Lukas Andriukaitis, Associate Director,  Digital Forensic Research Lab of the Atlantic Council, LT
  • Jessikka Aro, Investigative Journalist, Finish Public Broadcaster YLE, FI
  • Erkki Bahovski, Editor of Diplomaatia, International Centre for Defence and Security, EE
  • Kamil Basaj, Director, Info Ops Poland Foundation, PL
  • Eto Buziashvili, Digital Researcher, Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research, GE
  • Roland Freudenstein, Policy Director, Martens Centre, BE
  • Paata Gaprindashvili, Director, Georgia´s Reforms Associates (GRASS), GE
  • Gustav C. Gressel, Senior Policy Fellow and Acting Director of the Wider Europe Programme, European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR), AT
  • Rebecca Harms, Former MEP, DE
  • Pavel Havlicek, Analyst, Association for International Affairs, CZ
  • Marcel Van Herpen, Chairman, The Cicero Foundation, NL
  • Sorin Ionita, Senior Analyst, ExpertForum (EFOR), RO
  • Jakub Janda, Executive Director, European Values Center for Security Policy, CZ
  • Matej Kandrík, Executive Director, STRATPOL – Strategic Policy Institute, SK
  • Tunne Kelam, retired MEP, EE
  • Péter Krekó, Political Capital Institute, HU
  • Marius Laurinavičius, Senior Fellow, Vilnius Institute for Policy Analysis, LT
  • Juraj Mesík, Climate and Energy Advisor, SFPA, SK
  • Samantha North, Analyst, The Global Disinformation Index, UK
  • Vít Novotný, Senior Fellow, Martens Centre, BE
  • Bjarne Kim Pedersen, foreign policy analyst, DK
  • Dmytro Potekhin, Founder & CEO,   FakesKiller.com, EE
  • Giedrius Sakalauskas, Director, Res Publica, LT
  • James Sherr, Senior Fellow, Estonian Foreign Policy Institute at the International Centre for Defence and Security, Estonia
  • Alice Stollmeyer, Executive Director, Defending Democracy, NL
  • Radu Tudor, Defence Analyst, RO
  • Andreas Umland, Senior Fellow, Institute for Euro-Atlantic Cooperation, DE
  • Cécile Vaissié, Professor of Russia studies at Université Rennes, FR
  • Volodymyr  Yermolenko, Editor-in-Chief,  UkraineWorld.org, Ukraine
  • Ilya Zaslavskiy, Head of Research, Free Russia Foundation, RU

Sign under these questions:

HOW RUSSIAN STATE CHANNELS DESCRIBE THE NORD STREAM 2?

The Nord Stream II pipeline project is a lobbying tool for the Russian government, which uses it to keep the Western money flowing towards the Kremlin elite and increase its leverage against key European decision makers. Recent history only confirms that the Kremlin uses energy as a tool of blackmail.

Perhaps the best way to understand what role the Nord Stream II plays in Russia’s objectives is to look at the coverage by the Russian official state channels, serving the Kremlin to spread disinformation and state propaganda amongst the Russian citizens as well as the European audiences.

For that reason, the Ukraine Crisis Media Center in cooperation with the European Values Centre for Security Policy prepared a video and an infographic, explaining how Russian state media portray Nord Stream 2 and what the threats behind this project are.

“Russian media and officials insist that Nord Stream 2 is a safe business initiative, when it fact it is neither safe nor purely economic. It is a powerful political leverage that has capabilities to undermine European energy security”, says Oleksandra Tsekhanovska, senior analyst at Hybrid Warfare Analytical Group, UCMC.

“The collective security system, which had been a priority for many years after World War II, is now under a threat. Nord Stream 2 project is a danger not just for Ukraine or Poland. This is about the security of all Europe. Energy, economic and, finally, physical security as well. The “business as usual” formula may have short-term dividends, but the whole region loses in the long run,” – says Liubov Tsybulska, Head of HWAG.

The primary goal of the produced materials is not only to be shared amongst wider public, but also to provide a better and more comprehensive idea about how the West is portrayed by Russian state channels to policy-makers and decision-makers.

We would like to encourage you to share them with your peers, colleagues and anyone who might find the information relevant.

We would also like to draw your attention to the previous materials produced within this project, especially the videos summarizing the Russian state media coverage of the assassination of Sergei Skripal and the shooting down of the MH17.

Red Watch Program

Chinese influence is gradually posing a security problem, and not only in Europe. Although Communist China is a less immediate military threat than Russia, its hostile interference operations are equally worrisome, as documented by Czech and allied intelligence services. Red Watch Program focuses on focus on analyzing and countering this malign influence.

For more information and media inquiries, contact:

The European Values is announcing updates for the fall season

  1. From now on, we are the European Values Center for Security Policy
  2. We are launching a new Red Watch Program on Chinese influence
  3. Veronika Víchová is the new Head of the Kremlin Watch Program
  1. European Values Center for Security Policy

The European Values is a legally registered association and think tank. We formulate and present recommendations especially in the field of foreign and security policy. To increase our understandability among Czech audiences, we are presenting ourselves from now on as the European Values Center for Security Policy (bezpečnostní centrum Evropské hodnoty), which more precisely characterizes our work. In short, we are now referred to as the European Values Center or EVC. Číst dále

Press Release: European Values Think-Tank among 30 Russia watchers targeted by the most sophisticated cyber attack ever done on ProtonMail, probably by the GRU

In late July 2019, multiple experts of the European Values Think-Tank became targets of what the ProtonMail CEO described as “the most sophisticated [he has] ever encountered”. According to investigative group Bellingcat, the phishing campaign targeted at least 30 Russia-focused individuals: Číst dále

Public Appeal by European Security and Foreign Policy Experts:

Josep Borrell has a track record of accommodating the Kremlin’s positions over those of the European Union, and therefore should not lead EU foreign policy

In light of the Russian Federation’s ongoing aggression against Georgia and Ukraine, together with its interference in European democracies via malign disinformation operations, cyber-attacks, support for extremist groups, and even a military-grade chemical attack on EU soil, we have been disappointed by the weak performance of outgoing EU High Representative Federica Mogherini, who has consistently appeased the Kremlin during her time in office and failed to adequately confront its hostile behaviour towards Europe.

On Tuesday, July 2nd, the European Council nominated Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell as the next EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy.

However, during his 12-month tenure as Spanish Foreign Minister, Mr. Borrell’s posture towards Russia has raised serious concerns at least on three separate occasions:

  • In November 2018, Mr. Borrell agreed with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov that Spain and Russia would set up a joint cyber-security working group to address disinformation, ignoring the fact that Russia is the number one source of hostile foreign disinformation in Europe. Although the EU has an official counter-disinformation strategy and a dedicated team of experts devoted to exposing Russia’s disinformation efforts, Mr. Borrell instead chose to team up with the Kremlin, contradicting the positions of both the European Council and the European Parliament.

On these three occasions, Mr. Borrell has effectively sided with the Russian Federation on major geopolitical and security issues, in direct contradiction with the positions of the EU or Spain’s allies.

We believe that someone who has repeatedly failed to confront the Russian security threat to the EU and who has a track record of siding with Russia instead of EU allies should not be in charge of the EU’s foreign and security policy. If Josep Borrell becomes the new High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy, Russia will be encouraged, not deterred, in its hostile activities and attempts to destabilise Europe. Accordingly, we urge European leaders and the European Parliament to reconsider Mr. Borrell’s nomination.

Sign this Public Appeal:

Workshop: National case studies from the Czech Republic and Lithuania on Russian influence and counter-measures

On June 18 afternoon (13:00 – 17:00) European Values Think-Tank will organize workshops for Georgian journalists and analysts from non-governmental organizations.

The workshops will present case studies from Czech Republic and Lithuania on Russian influence operations and lessons learned from NATO countries.

The event will be held under Chatham House Rule, working language is English, no interpreting.

Venue of this event is Embassy of the Czech Republic in Tbilisi.

Georgian journalists and NGO analysts are welcome to register to receive further information via email: