Author: Giorgi Lomtadze
On November 23, the European Parliament approved a resolution which examines the propaganda against the European Union extensively and suggests measures to be taken by European Institutions.
Resolution – “EU strategic communication to counteract anti-EU propaganda by third parties” mentions Russian Federation and Islamist terrorist groups as the main sources of propaganda.
The text of the resolution is a result of lengthy negotiations between Members of the European Parliament (MEP). Work on the resolution started in March of 2016 and it was finally approved on November 23.
The author of the resolution is a member of Committee on Foreign Affairs and the chair of Sub-committee on Security and Defense, Polish MEP Anna Elżbieta Fotyga.
According to the author of the resolution:
“I was given the task of describing the propaganda of both state and non-state actors. As regards the Russian Federation, the situation is now clear. After its annexation of Crimea and aggression in the eastern part of Ukraine, many countries are fully aware of its disinformation and manipulation… This report, in the course of its preparation, was also a target of hostile propaganda.” 
Why is the resolution of the European Parliament important?
Since 2015, the European Union has been trying to expose propaganda directed against it. This problem had been realized inside individual European Union member states even before 2015, but the official and common position had never been stated at the institutional level of the EU.
The above resolution places the blame on Russia, as well as Islamist terroristic groups, in disinformation and propaganda. The resolution was approved by the European Parliament, members of which are directly elected by the citizens of the European Union member states. Therefore, the European Parliament is the main democratic institution that represents the will of European Union citizens. This gives the resolution more legitimacy and strengthens the steps to counter propaganda.
What is the goal of propaganda?
According to the resolution, the propaganda against the European Union seeks to distort the truth, disintegrate the European Union, paralyze the decision-making process, discredit European Union Institutions, incite fear and provoke doubt in the society.
Which sources of propaganda does the resolution focus on?
From the point of view of the MEPs, the Russian Federation has strengthened its propaganda after its annexation of Crimea and after conducting hybrid war in Donbass. The resolution also describes the channels of propaganda, which are used to propagate disinformation:
- Research Institutions and Organizations
- Multilingual TV-channels (For Example RT)
- Pseudo-news agencies (For Example Sputnik)
- Foundations (For Example "Русский мир")
- Official State Agencies of the Russian Federation (For Example "Россотрудничество")
- Social Media and Internet ‘Trolls’ 
The Resolution condemns Russian funding of Eurosceptic powers and political parties, such as extreme right-wing and populist political parties.
It is no accident that the document focuses on the funding of such political parties. A part of these parties are already inside the European Parliament and they went against the resolution.
The resolution was approved by 304 votes to 179, with 208 abstentions. There are 8 political groups inside the European Parliament, out of which parties with the greatest connection with Russia where the ones that did not approve the resolution. These parties are - ENF (Europe of Nations and Freedom) and GUE-NGL (European United Left/Nordic Green Left European Parliamentary Group).
From these groups, the most Eurosceptic and pro-Russian are 2 political parties – the far right National Front (far-right populist party of France) and Podemos (Spanish populist political party).
The National Front’s financial connection with Russia is well-known. As an example, Jean-Luc Schaffhauser is a member of the Marine Blue Gathering (French political coalition of right-wing and far-right political parties created by Marine Le Pen in 2012) who secured a loan from a Russian bank on the National Front’s behalf (9 million euros).  Schaffhauser is one of 179 MEPs who did not approve the resolution. 
Which steps are suggested by the resolution?
According to the resolution, the European Union has to resist disinformation and propaganda coming from countries like Russia.
From the point of view of MEPs, in order to resist Anti-Western and Eurosceptic Propaganda, it is essential to:
- Strengthen the EU Strategic Communication Group, which lacks human and financial resources; 
- Raise awareness about propaganda;
- Promote the skills of online and local media, and investigative journalism;
- Promote information literacy in citizens that will give them an opportunity to better analyze information coming from media sources;
- Translate information about propaganda to all EU languages (including regional languages);
- Deepen EU and NATO cooperation in terms of combating propaganda.
Parallels with Georgia
Kremlin propaganda is a serious problem in Georgia. The channels of propaganda mentioned in the resolution of the European Parliament are actively used in Georgia as well.
In September 2016, IDFI published a Policy Paper describing the threat of propaganda and its characteristics in Georgia. The policy paper offers concrete recommendations that will help the Government of Georgia effectively resist the Kremlin Propaganda:
1. The Kremlin information war must be officially recognized as a threat in state documents;
2. The Georgian government must develop a unified strategy for countering Kremlin propaganda;
3. The State Security Service of Georgia (SSSG) must include anti-propaganda activities among its priorities;
4. The Georgian government must set up a disinformation analysis, response and anti-propaganda coordination group;
5. A unified message from the government regarding propaganda threats;
6. Standards of financial transparency for non-governmental organizations must be raised;
7. The Georgian government must launch target programs to support the development of local media and civil society in regions populated by ethnic minorities;
8. The Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB) must take the lead in countering disinformation.
We believe that in addition to the executive government, the legislative government must also do its part to counter Kremlin Propaganda. Following the example of the European Parliament, the newly elected Parliament of Georgia can also adopt a resolution of similar content, demonstrating its position vis-à-vis the threats posed by propaganda.
 MEPs sound alarm on anti-EU propaganda from Russia and Islamist terrorist groups, Press Release, EP, November 23, 2016, http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/news-room/20161118IPR51718/meps-sound-alarm-on-anti-eu-propaganda-from-russia-and-islamist-terrorist-groups
 Troll - an internet slang meaning a person who sows discord on the internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory or off-topic messages in an online community.
 Anne-Claude Martin, National Front’s Russian loans cause uproar in European Parliament, Euractiv, December 7, 2014, https://www.euractiv.com/section/europe-s-east/news/national-front-s-russian-loans-cause-uproar-in-european-parliament/
 Minutes of proceedings Result of roll-call votes – Annex, EP, November 23, 2013, p. 89, http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-%2F%2FEP%2F%2FNONSGML%2BPV%2B20161123%2BRES-RCV%2BDOC%2BPDF%2BV0%2F%2FEN&language=EN
 The working group is currently composed of 9 communications specialists that do not have an independent budget.
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