The Council has adopted a series of conclusions which call for further enhanced responses at EU level to counter hybrid threats, including disinformation, and strengthening resilience. The Council notes that new technologies and crises, such as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, offer opportunities for hostile actors to expand their interference activities. These pose an additional challenge for the member states and the EU institutions, beyond the crisis itself.
The Council acknowledges that the COVID-19 pandemic makes the EU and its member states more vulnerable to hybrid threats. Such threats include the increased spread of disinformation and manipulative interference. Addressing these threats, particularly malicious cyber activities, disinformation and threats to economic security, requires a comprehensive approach involving effective cooperation and coordination.
In this context, the Council acknowledges that the EU approach to addressing disinformation is multidisciplinary and involves multiple stakeholders. The Council invites the Commission and the High Representative to further enhance responses at EU level, taking into account the economic and societal damage, as well as the possible damage to public health, caused by disinformation and the malign use of newly emerging technologies, including artificial intelligence.
The Council also urges continued efforts to strengthen the Task Forces and develop the Rapid Alert System with a view to developing a comprehensive platform for member states and EU institutions.
It also invites the Commission to develop and eventually implement additional transparency requirements for online platforms. The aim of such requirements would be to promote a digital public sphere, develop greater accountability and enhance transparency in addressing disinformation.
The Council notes that diplomatic engagement and measures are an effective European tool. This is in addition to enhancing resilience, which remains one of the most important tasks and is at the heart of European efforts to counter hybrid threats.
Lastly, the Council invites the Commission and the High Representative to play an active role in addressing pan-European vulnerabilities. This should include ensuring the security and resilience of supply chains to guarantee economic security, and proposing initiatives designed to strengthen resilience and improve responses as appropriate with due consideration of emerging technologies.