29 Apr, 2020

Borrell must clarify allegations EEAS report was softened at China’s request

MEPs from the Renew Europe Group have taken the initiative to organise a cross party letter to High Representative of the European Union Josep Borrell, asking for clarification on allegations that a report by the EEAS, on disinformation over COVID-19, was diluted at the request of the Chinese Government.

Initiator of the letter, Bart Groothuis MEP, a former cybersecurity expert at the Dutch Ministry of Defence and one of the first MEPs to raise the alarm, said:

“I am deeply concerned by reports that the European External Action Service (EEAS) was instructed to water down its assessment of Chinese disinformation campaigns. If this is true, this is a very serious problem. Information by the EEAS must be based on facts, not on political pressure or coercion by any non-EU actor such as China. Today, we have urged Josep Borrell to clarify what exactly happened. We urgently need answers. China should not be blocking the release of EU documents.”

Hilde Vautmans MEP, Renew Europe AFET coordinator and EP rapporteur on China said:

“Europe needs to forge a close working relationship with China, but we will not be uncritical partners. We need urgent clarification as regards the allegations made over the weekend. China should be fully transparent regarding the COVID-19 outbreak and share any relevant information concerning the virus, not the contrary. COVID-19 is a common, global challenge. Any additional information concerning the origin or root cause of COVID-19 could help us prevent a similar outbreak in the future and therefore is in our mutual interest.”

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