This article presents the actions undertaken at European level to tackle the spread of online disinformation.


The European Council tasked the High Representative in cooperation with EU institutions and the Member States to submit an action plan on strategic communications. Subsequently, the EEAS Stratcom Task Force was created to address Russia’s ongoing disinformation campaigns in the Eastern Neighbourhood.


The European Commission announced the creation of a high level expert group on fake news, composed of representatives of civil society, social media platforms, news media organisations, journalists, and academia. 


The high level expert group delivers its report


Following the expert group report, the European Commission released a Communication on “tackling online disinformation: a European approach”

The report also serves for a public consultation and a multi-stakeholders conference.


Alongside the Code of Practice, the European Commission launched an independent network of fact-checkers and an online platform on disinformation, as well as measures aimed at enhancing media literacy via the Audiovisual Media Services directive. 


The European Commission engaged with multiple stakeholders in order to define an Action Plan against disinformation. Here is a press release that summarises the Action Plan to step up efforts to counter disinformation in Europe and beyond.


The Rapid Alert System was set up among the EU institutions and the Member States to facilitate the sharing of insights related to disinformation campaigns and coordinate responses.


The European Commission published a report on the implementation of the Action Plan Against Disinformation. The report explains in more detail how the Action Plan and the elections package helped to fight disinformation in the context of the European Parliamentary Elections. The report does not identify cross-border disinformation campaigns from external actors, but collects evidence of sustained disinformation activities by Russian sources.


The Romanian presidency of the Council of the European Union concluded that tackling disinformation across the EU “varies greatly across member states”. The Romanian presidency reached this conclusion after having conducted a mapping exercise in all Member States. For future action, the report recommended setting up a permanent horizontal working party of the Council of the EU, which has been recently agreed upon by the Member States as of mid July 2019.


In their conclusions of their summit on the 20th June 2019, the European Council also highlighted the necessity to cooperate with relevant international actors.


The European Digital Media Observatory (EDMO) project begins its activities. EDMO will support the creation and work of a multidisciplinary community composed of fact-checkers, academic researchers and other relevant stakeholders. It will collaborate with media organisations and media literacy experts to better understand and limit the phenomenon of disinformation and increase societal resilience to it.


The Commission sets a European approach to coronavirus-related disinformation in the 10 June 2020 Joint Communication, continuing close contact with the platforms adhering to the Code of Practice on Disinformation.


EU assesses the Code of Practice and publishes platform reports on coronavirus related disinformation