'EU needs cooperation with Russia, we are not an American colony'
304 MEPs have voted for a resolution to counter what it perceives to be ‘Russian propaganda,’ although this was not an overall majority of the European Parliament.
The resolution suggests the Russian media is being used to challenge democratic values as part of a larger plot to weaken EU cooperation and unity. It calls on member states to be vigilant and increase funding to support freedom of media.
During a news conference following the vote, some lawmakers went so far as to put Russia on the same threat level as Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), a statement that has not gone down well in Moscow, considering the sacrifices Russia is making in fighting against the terrorist group in Syria.
RT: What was your initial reaction toward the European parliament’s resolution seeking to counteract propaganda by third parties which place Russia and ISIS on the same footing regarding perceived informational threats?
Laurent Jacobelli: What a shame. The European Commission and Parliament are becoming crazy, they are losing control. When people no longer accept debate and… another point of view, we cannot call them democrats any longer. The European Commission is behaving more and more like a dictator. They do not accept the people’s voice; they do not accept any other point of view. They have the truth, and they just want us to accept it. That is why they have taken this resolution against Russia Today because you are the free media because you say what you think and they no longer accept that. This is a big shame and a very bad day for democracy.
Martin Shultz from the German Social Democrats wanted to have a centralist mega state of Europe, and he doesn’t want any kind of information which is threatening this project. I guess this is the background. There are a lot of non-conformist parties that have developed in recent years – Alternative for Germany, Front Nationale, FPO, UKIP and other parties – who don’t want to be part of this project. We are getting stronger and stronger from year to year. It is no secret that we have good relations with Russia and we don’t want states who are not sovereign anymore. - Joachim Paul, from Alternative for Germany (AfD)
RT: What are the reasons for adopting such a resolution, what do you think?
LJ: Russia is for lots of European countries like a mirror in which they see the image of a good country when they are no longer a good one. Because Russia is a country that is very proud of its people, history and is taking into account the security of its citizens - what we in most European countries no longer do. That is why they try to paint and describe Russia as an undemocratic country just to explain why [EU leaders] are no longer patriots, why they are no longer trying to keep their population in security.
RT: What do you think is the source of such anti-Russia legislation? Can we blame it on US influence?
LJ: In fact, I guess the US and even most of the European countries are still thinking with an old scheme, dividing the world in two: on one side, the good ones, the Western nations. And on the other side, the bad country, Russia. This is no longer true. In fact, we need to cooperate with other countries, for instance, the US. But we also need to work with Russia to eradicate terrorism nowadays. We should go into more pragmatic behavior… We have to act as a free country. We are not an American colony.
RT: What do you think about the claim by some of the EU parliamentarians that Russian media is somehow a threat to the EU?
Dr. Johannes Hübner, Austrian Freedom Party (FPO): Many people realize the [European] parliament lives in a parallel universe. Saying European unity and coherence is threatened by Russian propaganda is so absurd that even people are in some ways EU zombies and tend to refuse to follow this line. The two stations that were mentioned are RT and Sputnik TV, they together maybe have half a percent of the audience of the European public. Maybe not even that. And to say that 0.5 percent is a threat to information in Europe is so absurd given the fact that the rest of the media in Europe is almost speaking with one voice in the interest of American policy – anti-Russia, anti-Putin and anti-everything that has to do with Russian interests.
RT: Is there any one event that has prompted such a resolution in the EU parliament?
JH: Well, there is no question the world is changing very quickly now. The election of Trump is only one of the factors, but the world is changing in Europe as well. The change, I would say, started in the autumn of 2015 with the crazy mess of the migration policy of the European Union and some governments, led by the Christian Democrats in Germany. This has shown the public that they have no responsible governments, no responsible leadership in the European Union. No one is really looking after their interests. They see that the governments… are following their own ideological, pseudo-religious principles, and not the interests of the people. And by that, the system has started to crumble. Some countries have openly refused to follow EU guidelines. Even my country refused when they set up the new border control system… Many parties in Europe that are openly against what the EU does have enormous support now, they are in some cases leading in the polls in the European states. They will have a referendum in Italy [on Dec. 4, Italians will vote on whether to allow changes to their national constitution, thus giving Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi powers to push through economic reforms], which is threatening another pillar of the EU.
RT: What kind of effect do you think this resolution will have across the European Union?
JH: I don’t think the [resolution] has a future because in our time of electronic media it is not possible to control public opinion as it was say 10 years ago. The system is defending itself, and they tried through strengthening the information monopoly that exists de facto… You see 99 percent of the media projecting the same general views concerning America, the European Union, and Russia… And now even want to stop Russia from giving the smallest ray of information to the European public, and one of those acts has been seen in the European Parliament today.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.