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EU elections 2024: EURENI project raises awareness of the issue of disinformation

In the run-up to the European Parliament elections, the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) is training citizens to better recognize and classify disinformation.

From 6 to 9 June 2024, the European Parliament elections will take place in the EU member states. Around 400 million Europeans are eligible for voting. And every ballot paper counts. Democracy relies on the active participation of citizens. The EU citizens are therefore important addressees in the election campaign.

Unfortunately, over the last few years it has been observed worldwide that disinformation is increasingly put into circulation during democratic election campaigns. This information is misleading or incorrect, and is spread intentionally and specifically with the purpose of influencing citizens' votes. The EU is also not immune to this. The sources of such disinformation are mainly non-state actors from home and abroad, and also foreign state actors driven by various motivations. The aim is not necessarily only to boost the election chances of a certain political party, but also to make citizens uneasy about the EU and the elections by spreading incorrect information, thus undermining their basic trust in democracy.

Environmental topics frequently affected by disinformation campaigns

Climate change and other environmental aspects are some of the topics frequently affected by disinformation campaigns. In light of this, the European Environmental Bureau (EEB), together with other European environmental organisations, has set itself the goal of supporting young Europeans in particular by enabling them to better distinguish between facts and disinformation as part of the EURENI project “EU Elections 2024 in the Era of Disinformation”.

For this purpose, the EEB is organising several workshops for representatives of various non-governmental and youth organisations from the six EU countries Belgium, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Poland and Spain. Here, participants can learn about current narratives that misrepresent or distort actual circumstances in the period leading up to the EU elections. The alliance also provides training on how to question and correctly sort out information. For example, the senders of an article should always be researched and stories and images checked for plausibility.

Furthermore, the project provides information and training material. Organisations can make use of these to share knowledge on disinformation in their work, for example in social networks.

The project has two objectives in providing targeted information and raising awareness of disinformation campaigns: on the one hand, to motivate young EU citizens in particular to make use of their voting rights, thus protecting democracy. On the other hand, it enables them to better recognise incorrect or distorted information to enable them to make an informed voting decision - whatever it might be.

Zukunft – Umwelt – Gesellschaft (ZUG) gGmbH manages the European Environment Initiative (EURENI) on behalf of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV).


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