Disinfo: EU is on the verge of collapse

Summary

It is no longer unlikely that countries like Italy or Spain will leave the eurozone (as a result of the selfish European response toward the Coronavirus epidemic). The collapse of the eurozone is the first step towards the collapse of the European Union.

Disproof

Groundless speculation made without evidence.

This is a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the alleged disintegration of the European Union as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. See similar disinformation cases that the EU's health and safety policies have failed, that the COVID-19 outbreak means the end of Europe, and that many European states will likely cease to exist due to the pandemic.

After an initial slow response, the European Union is supporting Member States in addressing the crisis and mitigating 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 the 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. 

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 197
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 15/05/2020
  • Language/target audience: Arabic
  • Country: EU, Italy, Spain
  • Keywords: coronavirus, euro, Euro-scepticism, European Union

Disclaimer

Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

see more

According to the West, Russian language is a threat to open and transparent elections in Moldova

In order to prepare a draft amendment to the Electoral Code of the Republic of Moldova, the United States and the United Kingdom have allocated a special grant aimed at “enhancing democracy in Moldova through inclusive and transparent elections”. It turns out that according to the presented project, the Russian language is the biggest threat to “open and transparent” elections in Moldova. Therefore, it was proposed to cancel the ballots in Russian and leave them only in the state language.

Disproof

This claim is in line with a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative alleging that Russophobia and anti-Russian attitudes are rampant in countries of the former Soviet Union; especially in cases where those countries receive Western support. Pro-Kremlin media often portray former Soviet countries as "Russophobic" for taking steps to protect and prioritise their national languages, which were suppressed for decades through the linguistic imperialism strategy of Russification during the Soviet period. Ukraine is a particularly common target of these narratives, among other countries.

The Central Electoral Commission of the Republic of Moldova proposed a draft amendment to the Electoral Code in order to improve electoral practices. The drafting of the amendments was funded by USAID through the project ”Enhancing democracy in Moldova through inclusive and transparent elections”, implemented in 2017-2020 by UNDP Moldova. The draft contains 15 amendments, one of which concerns the proposal to print ballots only in Romanian, Moldova's state language, and not in Russian in elections where the ballots just contain the name of the candidate. "Standardisation of the text in the state language would significantly optimise the resources, including human resources, needed to accomplish this [electoral] process,” says the explicative note of the project. Ballots in Russian would continue to be printed in cases of a referendum, where voters have to read and respond to a question. The project is exposed to public debate.

US Mayor admitted having COVID-19 in November

The mayor of an American city admitted to being infected with the coronavirus last November after his virus antibody test turned out to be positive. That was last November, two months before the first infection in China.

Disproof

Recurring misinformation related to the 2019-nCoV coronavirus. 

New Jersey’s Belleville Mayor Michael Melham believes he caught the novel coronavirus in November, he claimed he caught the virus at a convention, but his doctor back then had diagnosed him with a bad case of the flu. He didn’t have a proper COVID-19 test, but a blood test revealed he had Coronavirus antibodies that suggest but do not confirm that he had a type of coronavirus, which shouldn't necessarily be the COVID-19 virus.

The West accuses Russia of spreading disinformation without evidence

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said that Russia and China are spreading disinformation to increase influence among NATO countries and the European Union and to destabilise these countries in the context of the coronavirus pandemic. At the same time, Stoltenberg did not cite specific examples of disinformation from Russia and China. According to him, Russia has turned the mission into a propaganda operation. However, not only the Western Media is engaged in speculation on the topic of coronavirus. Often the US officials also practice unproven accusations and dissemination of misinformation, covering up their failure to fight the infection.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative denying that any Russian media have been involved in spreading disinformation about the coronavirus and aiming to portray any outside criticism of Russia as a symptom of "Russophobia".

The European External Action Service has issued special reports listing and detailing disinformation narratives related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The number of individual cases is approaching 500 (as of 18 May 2020), and each debunk can be accessed through the EUvsDisinfo database.