European Commission survey shows citizens worry about interference ahead of the European elections
The colloquium aims to reaffirm that Democracy is a central value common to the European Union and all its Member States i, and to look at how to renew democratic engagement within the European Union and the European societies. This debate is timely also in the context of the upcoming European elections and on the occasion of the seventieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
High-level national and European policymakers, international organisations, civil society organisations, media and social media representatives, the world of business and education, legal professionals, and many others, will work together to identify avenues to foster free, open and healthy democratic participation in an era of growing low turnout in elections, populism, digitalisation and threats to civil society.
Approached from the perspective of democratic activity in general and the upcoming European elections, the wide range of topics for discussion will include the promotion of broad participation and representation as a condition for inclusive democratic societies.
A new Eurobarometer survey published today sheds light on the expectations of Europeans for the May 2019 European elections and what would motivate them to cast their vote. It also shows that a majority of EU citizens are worried that disinformation campaigns, data breaches and cyberattacks will interfere with electoral processes.
Today's figures show that Europeans are worried about interference in the elections:
-61% worry that elections can be manipulated through cyberattacks,
-59% worry about foreign actors and criminal groups influencing elections
-67% worry that personal data left online could be used to target the political messages they see.
But Europeans overwhelmingly agree (74- 81%) on the way to tackle these threats:
-by introducing more transparency to online social media platforms, including on clearly indicating who is behind online advertisement;
-by giving equal opportunities to all political parties to access online services to compete for voters' attention;
-by giving a right to reply for candidates or political parties on social media;
-by introducing the same silence period online as already exists for traditional media.
The Juncker Commission i has been working actively on bringing the EU closer to its citizens. The European Commissioners reached out to citizens and participated in over a thousand Citizens' dialogues since the beginning of the mandate.
The Commission i has launched several campaigns, including the EU Protects campaign and the EU and Me campaign, which reaches out to younger generations. Ahead of the elections, the European Commission together with the European Parliament will run awareness-raising campaigns to mobilise citizens to vote.