The Seminar of the European Union of Journalists at the European Parliament


The Seminar of the European Union of Journalists at the European Parliament in Brussels on “The War in Ukraine – What does it mean for Europe?” Was a great success.


The European Union of Journalists, in cooperation with the European Parliament’s Communications Department, has successfully organized a seminar on the war in Ukraine and its consequences for the EU. The seminar took place at the European Parliament in Brussels with the participation of MEPs, diplomats and journalists. The discussion revolved around misinformation, control of the media by governments and oligarchs, and the geopolitical implications of the Ukraine war for the EU.

Welcoming the European Parliament, the Vice President of the European Parliament, Othmar Karras, emphasized that the EU must remain united, united and active as this war is not just between Russia and Ukraine but between two worlds, democracy and dictatorship, freedom and authoritarianism. Putin can not stand the existence of a better social system on its borders. He also stressed that a religious war is raging as Russia uses Orthodoxy as a means of expansion and influence. The Patriarch of Russia wants to prevail over the other Orthodox Churches. Human rights and pluralist liberal democracy are being fought in this war by the Kremlin regime.

Mr Karras also emphasized that freedom of the press was not a given and that we should fight for it. Media freedom must be extended everywhere because proper information is the key to democracy. Citizens need to be properly informed so as not to be misled by nationalists and populists. He stressed that most problems are now global such as misinformation, pandemics, climate change, the economy and refugees. These global challenges have no borders and the EU must intervene drastically. The treaties must be reviewed and the role of the European Parliament in the legislative process must be strengthened. The Conference on the Future of Europe must continue and the accession of Ukraine, Moldova, Albania and Northern Macedonia must proceed.

The International President of the Union of European Journalists, Ms. Saya Tsaousidou, after welcoming the participants, referred to the great contribution of the seminar, saying that there are many burning issues for discussion, such as misinformation, fake news, the war in Ukraine, the common European politics and defense but also the future of the EU, which is our common home.

William Horsley, AEJ Representative on Media Freedom, referred to the persecution of journalists and the press and the role played by the Council of Europe in this area. He also referred to the “pandemic of misinformation” as well as the close control of the media by authoritarian governments and oligarchs seeking to silence the press. Multinational digital companies also control the international media. British journalist Peter Jukes, founder of Byline Times, analyzed the dependence of the media in Britain, where there is a great deal of control over information by big interests. What has been happening in Britain for six years is pure misinformation and censorship. The oligarchs control the information and there is a lot of corruption.

Guy Verhofstadt, MEP of the Renew Europe group, stressed that the declaration of war in Ukraine is the beginning of a new world order similar to that of 1989 when the Berlin Wall fell. The war is a milestone for a new rivalry between the empires of China, India, USA, Russia. He referred to defense spending, in which the US and China are first, while the EU is the second (along with China) in defense spending in the world but does not have much operational capacity without American support. If Trump returns, then what guarantees do we have for our defense? We must therefore strengthen the European arm of NATO and the common European defense.

Social Democrat MEP Hannes Heide stressed that Austria is a neutral country and does not belong to NATO and should remain so, but in close cooperation with NATO, Putin strengthened the cohesion of the EU and NATO, which acquired now a new role. European People’s Party MEP Radan Kanev said Bulgaria was very close to war and exposed to Moscow’s hybrid war. Russian propaganda is very strong in Bulgaria through the media.

In relation to fake news and propaganda on social networks, it was stressed that the media have an obligation to check the correctness and accuracy of the news. He also stressed that there should be no mechanisms to control fake news, while when the state controls fake news, censorship takes place.

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