Disinfo: 25th anniversary of Schengen seems like its funeral

Summary

The 25th anniversary of Schengen seems more like its funeral. This is a painful farewell to the dream of a united Europe without borders. The utopia did not last long. Now every man is for himself. And everyone is angry at each other. Mutual assistance, common values and human rights, freedom of speech and freedom of movement have faded away in the EU. What is Europe without the Schengen?

Disproof

Baseless speculation; no evidence given. Consistent with earlier pro-Kremlin disinformation message that the Schengen zone has collapsed and more broadly, with the disinformation narrative that the EU is collapsing as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

The Schengen border code provides Member States with the capability of temporarily reintroducing border control at the internal borders in the event that a serious threat to public policy or internal security has been established:

Where there is a serious threat to public policy or internal security, these countries may exceptionally reintroduce border controls at its internal borders for a period of no more than 30 days (possible to prolong under conditions established by the code) or for the foreseeable duration of the serious threat. This action should be seen as a last resort. If such controls are to be reintroduced, the other EU countries that are part of the Schengen area and the European Commission must be notified without delay with a view to possible consultations. The European Parliament and the Council must be informed at the same time.

The European Union is supporting Member States in addressing the crisis and has adopted measure to mitigate the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

To cushion the blow to people’s livelihoods and the economy, the European Commission has adopted a comprehensive economic response to the outbreak, applied the full flexibility of the EU fiscal rules, has revised its State Aid rules and proposed to set up a EUR 37 billion Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative to provide liquidity to small businesses and the health care sector.

To support scientific research into COVID-19, the European Commission earmarked 47.5 million EUR for shortlisted research projects that can improve epidemiology and public health, including preparedness and response to outbreaks. The EU has also created first ever stockpile of medical equipment. 

Read more about the EU's response here and here. For similar cases, see here, here, and here.

 

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 190
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 29/03/2020
  • Language/target audience: Russian
  • Country: EU
  • Keywords: coronavirus, EU disintegration
see more

A third world war because of North Macedonia

A third world war because of North Macedonia:
After Montenegro became NATO’s newest member in 2018, a journalist asked President Trump, “why should my son go to Montenegro to protect it from an attack?” Now the same will need to be explained about North Macedonia.

Disproof

This is a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative attacking NATO, on the one hand trying to paint it as a warmongering, aggressive organisation and on the other hand attempting to undermine NATO's mutual security guarantee. It is also part of a longstanding pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign aimed at preventing North Macedonia and other Balkan countries from joining NATO. For example, pro-Kremlin media have spread false claims like that NATO needs Macedonia and Montenegro to test radioactive ammunition, that NATO is a real danger in the Western Balkans and has destroyed Montenegro’s army, and that Macedonians have rejected the agreement to rename the country and erase their national identity.

North Macedonia officially joined NATO as its 30th member on 27 March 2020. NATO is a defensive alliance whose purpose is the protection of its member states. NATO member states make sovereign decisions about their own security. The Alliance considers the applications of candidate countries who want to join the alliance based on their own national will. NATO's "Open Door Policy" is based on Article 10 of the Alliance's founding document, the North Atlantic Treaty (1949). The Treaty states that NATO membership is open to any "European state in a position to further the principles of this Treaty and to contribute to the security of the North Atlantic area". Every sovereign nation has the right to choose its own security arrangements. This is a fundamental principle of European security and one to which Russia has also subscribed.

The Covid-19 pandemic was an economic war plot against China that backfired

The coronavirus crisis is an economic war. The first goal was to break China’s back, and the Chinese economy suffered greatly. But the plan not only failed, it has been extremely counterproductive given that China is part of the supply chain for the West. Socio-economic costs are now exorbitant.

Disproof

Conspiracy theory, with no evidence provided to support any of the claims and part of Russia’s disinformation campaign on the coronavirus, well documented by both media and governments. Elements of this campaign were widely reported by Russian and international publications, and by the European External Action Service.

EUvsDisinfo database has a long set of Kremlin-linked disinformation cases on this subject, such as claims that Bill Gates and George Soros are sponsoring the Wuhan coronavirus, that it is a UKUS or NATO creation and Americans have its cure, that it is an artificial disease which specifically targets Chinese DNA, that it is a pretext to gain control of the world’s population, that it was created with economic goals while big pharma companies are spreading panic for their own profits, that it is a biological weapon against Russia and China, that it will wipe out Ukraine’s population in a few days or that it was predicted by Nostradamus and others.

People in Belgium want schools to open so they don’t have to take care of their children

In Belgium, people are only interested in the dates when schools open again, so they don’t have to take care of their children more than they have to. And there are still opinions, even from doctors, that there was no need to close the schools.

Everyone is shocked that the theory that the coronavirus will be everywhere but will miraculously avoid Belgium has failed. 90 percent of the country believed that the coronavirus is no more than the flu.

Disproof

Conspiracy theory and baseless accusations with no evidence provided. This is part of the ongoing pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign around the coronavirus, which often involves attempts to portray the EU and European countries unable to deal effectively with the outbreak. In this case, the claim attacks the alleged incompetence and ignorance of Belgian people, without providing any evidence to back up its accusations.

This case also plays on the common pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative of the West's alleged moral decay and rejection of traditional values, suggesting - again with no evidence - that Belgians "don't want to take care of their children". The notion of "threatened values" is one of the master narratives used in pro-Kremlin disinformation, in order to suggest that those committed to decency and traditionalism are under attack from liberal “tyranny”. This narrative is adapted to a wide range of topics and typically used to challenge progressive Western attitudes about the rights of women, ethnic and religious minorities, and LGBTQ groups, among others. It often aims to portray the West as depraved, an immoral actor that fights against traditional values, promotes deviant sexual behavior, and endangers societies.