The European Parliament calls for a halt to Russian interference, but the FDI Fund, the League and the Five Star Movement abstain.  Gozi: “Here is the pro-Putin party.”

The European Parliament calls on member states to “increase efforts to counter Russian interference” also in light of the 2024 European elections and in the wake of recent revelations of Kremlin-backed attempts to interfere and undermine democratic processes in Europe. The decision was voted on today in Strasbourg by an overwhelming majority: 429 votes in favour, 27 against, and 48 abstentions. But the two main parties that constitute the majority – the Brotherhood of Italy and the League – along with the Five Star Movement, failed to express their consent by abstaining from the vote. Among Italians, MEPs from Forza Italia, Terzo Polo, BD and Verdi supported it. As for the European groups as a whole, the European People's Party, the Renewal Party, the Socialists, the Greens, and the Left (with some differences) voted in favor. The European Conservatives and Reformists (Ecr) group as well, with the exception of the Italian Brethren and part of the Spanish Foxes. In the Identity and Democracy group, supporters of the Northern League and Leben abstained from voting, while Germans from the Alternative for Germany party voted against it.

Differences and reactions

For the Five Star Movement delegation to the European Parliament, “the interference of foreign states, including Russian interference, in European democracy is too much and must be stopped with all possible force.” But MEPs wrote in a note that “it is unacceptable to label those who oppose sending weapons to conflict zones, such as the Ukrainian region, as pro-Russian.” This is an ideological extension that we reject: we are a true peace force, as are millions of Italians who stand in solidarity with the Ukrainians, and for this very reason hope for an end to hostilities. These are the reasons that led us to abstain today during the resolution voted on in the European Parliament on the text on combating Russian interference.” For Sandro Gozzi, Secretary General of the European Democratic Party and member of the Renew Europe team, today’s vote was not a surprise at all because “The Italian pro-Putin party is still alive and cross. It is not surprising that the League has repeatedly proven its closeness to Moscow. It is not surprising that the Five Star Movement has chosen the far right. It is not surprising that Fratelli d’Italia aligns with Meloni, who spoke about it just two years ago in his book Putin as Leader. Great European.” “This vote is another answer to the true nature of the far right in Italy, to its allies in the European Union such as Le Pen and the AfD, and to those outside Europe,” Guzzi concludes.

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the solution

In the resolution, the MEPs expressed their “concern over the recent interrogation conducted by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) of the AfD's main deputy, Maximilian Krah, on suspicion that he had received money from German intelligence agents.” The Kremlin, and arrested his parliamentary assistant in Germany, on April 23, 2024, on charges of spying for China. The text therefore calls on the AfD, which voted against it today, to “declare without delay its financial relations, especially with the Kremlin, and to announce the purpose and exact amount of all payments from sources linked to the Kremlin.” To strengthen the European Parliament's defences, the text proposes “strengthening the culture of internal security, including in-depth internal investigations to assess possible cases of foreign interference.” The resolution finally calls on the Council to include Kremlin-backed media and other broadcasting and media organizations and individuals responsible for spreading propaganda and disinformation in the EU in the upcoming 14th sanctions package.

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