Christian Kvorning Lassen, Kateřina Davidová, Jana Juzová, Vít Havelka a Louis Cox-Brusseau reagují na zasedání Evropské rady v červnu 2019.
The conclusions regarding disinformation and hybrid threats were expectedly vague, indicative of a lack of in-depth understanding of the issue, especially of online platforms and their stake in it. Thus, it is evident from the conclusions that the EU is still relying on agencies and member states to “raise awareness, increase preparedness and strengthen resilience” in a regulatory vacuum devoid of political understanding and will to tackle the root causes, incentives and tools for disinformation/hybrid threats. While it is correct that the development of AI and data-gathering techniques require continuous assessment, it also requires immediate actions in terms of powerful regulatory framework. As long as tech-giants continue acting with impunity with regards to democratic integrity, paying only lip service to legitimate democratic concerns expressed by both member states and the wider EU, it is incongruous to expect them to self-regulate or that member states individually can wield the political clout needed to make these companies and their associate technologies and data work for democracy and citizens.
The hopes were high prior to the Council meeting on Thursday 20 June. Twenty-two states have openly backed the goal of climate neutrality by 2050, including the most important one – Germany. However, after a lengthy discussion on the precise wording of the conclusion, the unanimous decision was blocked by the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and Estonia.
Despite high expectations in the past months, the European Council meeting did not bring any breakthrough except another pledge to further enlargement, with the EU Member States still keeping the Western Balkans waiting. At the European Council session, enlargement was not even on the agenda and the topic was discussed only at the preceding General Affairs Council meeting on 18 June in Luxembourg.
Apart from nominations for the top EU positions, leaders of the European Union discussed yesterday the post-2020 MFF package, whose final version they hope to enact in Autumn 2019.
These European Council conclusions provided little in the way of new policy indicators regarding external relations, maintaining normative stances on critical issues facing the Union without committing to dramatic course changes. The EU leaders unanimously agreed to extend current economic sanctions on Russia by a further six months, condemning Russia’s continued violation of the Minsk accords and raising the possibility of non- recognition of Russian passports issued in separatist regions, with further options mooted should the situation in eastern Ukraine not improve. However, whilst the Council welcomed the announcement of criminal charges to be brought against four individuals over the downing of Flight MH17 in 2014, and expressed concern over the ongoing captivity of Ukrainian sailors in Russia in relation to the Sea of Azov incident, it is evident that the Council’s conclusions were notably less critical of Russia than previous conclusions, and indeed far less critical than the condemnation of Turkey at this Council; it may be surmised that the Council’s rhetoric toward Russia could move in future toward encouraging further EU-Russia dialogue – presumably hoping to attain greater coherence with international law from the Russian side – and away from blanket condemnation and enhanced punitive measures.
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Expertíza: regionalismus, Visegrádská spolupráce, demokratizace a evropská integraci zemí západního Balkánu, proces rozšiřování EU
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