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EU Election Interference Probe: Belgium Looks into Russian Role

EU Election Interference Probe: Belgium Looks into Russian Role
FREDERICK FLORIN/AFP European Parliament elections take place from 6-9 June in 27 different EU membe... FREDERICK FLORIN/AFP European Parliament elections take place from 6-9 June in 27 different EU member states
EU Election Interference Probe: Belgium Looks into Russian Role
FREDERICK FLORIN/AFP European Parliament elections take place from 6-9 June in 27 different EU membe... FREDERICK FLORIN/AFP European Parliament elections take place from 6-9 June in 27 different EU member states

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EU Election Interference Probe: Belgium Looks into Russian Role

Less than two months remain before European voters across 27 countries participate in the upcoming EU Parliament elections. Belgium has raised concerns about potential interference from pro-Russian networks seeking to sway the outcome of the vote.

Belgian Prime Minister Alexander de Croo has voiced apprehension over Moscow’s efforts to bolster support for pro-Russian candidates within the European Parliament. He emphasized the strategic importance, stating that a weakened backing for Ukraine ultimately serves Russia’s interests on various fronts.

Recent revelations from the Czech government have shed light on a pro-Kremlin network, sparking heightened scrutiny across Europe. Intelligence agencies in Prague and Poland have identified the Voice of Europe news website as a platform allegedly funded by Moscow to disseminate propaganda and provide financial support to sympathetic European politicians. Despite these allegations, the website has remained silent.

Echoing concerns raised by Czech findings, Prime Minister de Croo revealed that Belgian intelligence has confirmed the presence of spy networks operating not only in Belgium but also in several other European nations. The investigation indicates that Moscow has engaged with European parliamentarians and possibly made payments to advance Russian interests within the EU.

While Belgian authorities have initiated legal proceedings, no specific individuals suspected of receiving funds have been named. Although no direct cash transactions have occurred within Belgium, evidence suggests ongoing pro-Russian interference.

A notable concern is the alignment of certain far-right politicians in Europe with Russia’s agenda. Reports from Czech sources have suggested that the Voice of Europe website allegedly compensated politicians from various countries, including Germany, France, Poland, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Hungary, in exchange for advocating pro-Russian positions ahead of the elections in June.

Despite vehement denials from candidates such as Petr Bystron of Germany’s far-right AfD party, suspicions persist regarding external influences on European politics. Prime Minister de Croo emphasized the gravity of the situation and highlighted ongoing discussions with European counterparts to address these threats effectively.

As the host city of the EU’s key institutions, Brussels stands at the epicenter of these concerns. Both the European Commission and the European Parliament, headquartered in Brussels, face the challenge of safeguarding the integrity of the democratic process amid heightened geopolitical tensions.

Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala underscored the broader security implications of the pro-Russian network’s actions, prompting his government to impose sanctions on entities linked to the Voice of Europe website and two pro-Russian Ukrainians. This proactive stance reflects a collective effort to defend European values and preserve the integrity of democratic processes against external interference.


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