On January 21, Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics took part in the meeting of the European Union (EU) Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels, at which EU Foreign Ministers discussed the fight against disinformation, LETA learned from the Latvian Foreign Ministry.
Edgars Rinkevics expressed support for the Joint Communication by the Commission and the EU High Representative “Action Plan against Disinformation”, published on December 5, 2018, and setting out practical measures for the implementation of the plan across the EU.
The response to disinformation presented in the plan is based on four pillars: 1) improving the capabilities of EU institutions to detect, analyze and expose disinformation; 2) strengthening coordinated and joint responses to disinformation; 3) mobilizing private sector to tackle disinformation; 4) raising awareness and improving societal resilience, including through support for analysis and research.
The Minister drew attention to hybrid threat calling for an integrated approach and, consequently, for joint efforts of the EU and NATO. To this end, close cooperation is needed between the NATO Strategic Communications Center of Excellence in Riga and the Helsinki-based European Center of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats.
The Latvian Foreign Minister expressed strong support for the work of the EU’s East Strategic Communication Task Force, currently active in several lines of action, namely, putting the spotlight on pro-Kremlin disinformation against the EU and countering that disinformation, as well as strengthening the media environment in the Eastern Neighborhood countries.
Ministers then shared views on cooperation between the EU and the League of Arab States. A discussion was also held on the EU’s relationship with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) ahead of the EU-ASEAN Ministerial Meeting, which took place after the Council.
The EU-ASEAN meeting addressed regional security in Asia and Europe’s neighborhood, as well as featuring discussions on global challenges such as climate change, international terrorism, maritime security and cyber security.
The meetings of the Foreign Affairs Council are held on a monthly basis, and they are chaired by the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Policy and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini.