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03 December 2020Brussels

The European Commission presents its European Democracy Action Plan to make EU democracies stronger

On 3 December 2020, the European Commission published its European Democracy Action Plan to empower citizens and build more resilient democracies across the EU. Standing up to challenges to our democratic systems from rising extremism and perceived distance between people and politicians, the Action Plan sets out measures to promote free and fair elections, strengthen media freedom and counter disinformation. The European Democracy Action Plans is one of the major initiatives of the Commission's Work Programme for 2020, announced in the Political Guidelines of President von der Leyen.

The European Democracy Action Plans is structured around three main pillars:

1. Promote free and fair elections
The Commission will propose legislation on transparency of sponsored political content (“political advertising”) and will revise the rules on the financing of European political parties. Through the European Cooperation Network on Elections, the Commission will enhance cooperation among Member States and launch a new operational mechanism, which will support efficient and timely exchanges on elections' integrity related issues such as the cyber-security of elections. The Commission will also organise a high-level event bringing together various authorities to address the challenges related to electoral processes as well as empowering citizens to participate as voters and candidates in the democratic process.

2. Strengthen media freedom and pluralism
The Commission will propose in 2021 a recommendation on the safety of journalists, drawing particular attention to threats against women journalists, and an initiative to curb the abusive use of lawsuits against public participation (SLAPPs). The Commission will also work closely with Member States through a structured dialogue and provide sustainable funding for projects on legal and practical assistance to journalists in the EU and elsewhere. Finally, it will put forward further measures to support media pluralism and to strengthen transparency of media ownership and state advertising, among others, through the new Media Ownership Monitor.

3. Counter disinformation
The Action Plan proposes improving the existing EU's toolbox for countering foreign interference, including new instruments that allow imposing costs on perpetrators. The Commission will steer efforts to overhaul the Code of Practice on Disinformation into a co-regulatory framework of obligations and accountability of online platforms, in line with the upcoming Digital Services Act.

For further information please consult this page.