Disinfo: Italians are the poorest citizens of the EU and Italy is the poorest EU country

Summary

Italy has suffered so much from the introduction of euro that now Italians are the poorest citizens of the EU and Italy is the poorest EU country.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin narrative demonising the EU, the Eurozone and claiming that euro is responsible for the economic downfall of many European countries. According to IMF figures, Italy is NOT the poorest country of EU. Italy ranks 15th in terms of per-capita GDP amongst the 28 EU countries, and 12th amongst the 19 EU countries that have adopted euro. Similar cases here and here.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 139
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 27/02/2019
  • Outlet language(s) Italian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Italy
  • Keywords: EU disintegration, European Union, Europe
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Ukraine has failed to become Europe

Ukraine, in spite of all the hatred towards Russia cultivated by the authorities in Kyiv, has failed to become part of Europe. The coup in Ukraine was the beginning of a new history of the country. Ukraine was struck by a deep economic and social crisis, accompanied by the collapse of the national currency and investment outflow, as well as the armed conflict in Donbas, which claimed thousands of lives and destroyed the region’s industrial potential.

Disproof

This case involves several recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives: Ukraine as a failed country, its failure to become European, and that Maidan resulted in coup. Several international institutions show that Ukraine’s economy has returned to growth after the recession of 2014-15 and accelerated in the first half of 2018. After 2.5% growth in 2017, real GDP growth picked up to 3.1% in the first quarter and 3.8% in the second quarter of 2018, but dropped again in the third quarter (2.8% according to provisional data). Real GDP growth for the whole of 2018 is now forecast at around 3.3%. There was no coup in Ukraine in 2014. The demonstrations, which began in Kyiv in November 2013, were not provoked from outside but were the result of Ukrainians' frustration with former President Yanukovych's last minute U-turn on the highly-anticipated EU Association Agreement. After seven years of negotiations, Yanukovych refused to sign the agreement due to Russian pressure, and thereby halted Ukraine's progress towards a closer relationship with the EU. Similar cases about the alleged coup d'état in Ukraine can be found here and here. Similar cases about Ukraine failing to become European can be consulted here and here.

Ukraine is preparing a new provocation in the Kerch Strait

Ukraine is preparing a new provocation in the Kerch Strait. Currently, three new military boats of the Ukrainian navy, and according to some information, with NATO officers on board, are planning to break through the Kerch Strait.

Disproof

No evidence given, neither about the claims of a planned provocation, nor about NATO personnel being aboard. This is consistent with recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about the Azov Sea and presidential elections in Ukraine. The article used as a source for the claims about the alleged provocation also refutes this information: "Meanwhile, the border service of the Federal Security Service of Russia told the channel that they did not have any evidence of this information. Sources in the Ukrainian Navy said to "Strana" that ships will not go to the Kerch Strait". The use of the Kerch strait and the Sea of Azov is regulated by a bilateral treaty between Russia and Ukraine, signed in 2003 and ratified by Russia in 2004. According to the document, the Sea of Azov is considered to be the “internal waters” of both Russia and Ukraine.

USA prepare military intervention in Venezuela

USA deploy troops and prepare military intervention in Venezuela. The transfer of American special forces to Puerto Rico, the stationing of US military units in Colombia and other facts obviously show that the Pentagon is strengthening its military in the region with the aim of forcing President Maduro out of office.

Disproof

No evidence given. Recurring pro-Kremlin narrative about the protests in Venezuela. According to Reuters, "U.S. officials have dismissed Russian allegations about U.S. plans for Venezuela as baseless "propaganda". Also, several US military officials have stressed there are no military options actively being considered for Venezuela.