Foreign interference in elections in the West: a commission to counter it

The elections to be held this year in the European Union and the United States have once again put the risk of interference by adversary countries at the center of attention. Concern, from this point of view, has been expressed both in Washington and in the Old Continent.

“TikTok accounts operated by a propaganda arm of the People's Republic of China reportedly targeted candidates from both political parties during the 2022 U.S. midterm election cycle,” a report from the Office of the Director of US National Intelligence, Avril Haines. It is in this context that a senior official from the Atlantic services reported to CNN that “the intelligence community cannot exclude that China uses TikTok to try to influence the 2024 American elections, although the intelligence community has not no indication that it intends to do so.” Furthermore, it is no coincidence that, a few days ago, the House of Representatives approved a bill which, if finalized, could lead to the ban of the Chinese social platform in the United States. Finally, according to CNN, American services are also monitoring possible interference by Iran, which notoriously maintains solid relations with both Moscow and Beijing.

Moreover, it was also the latest report from our intelligence that raised the alarm about foreign interference. “Also in 2023, the Russian Federation and the People's Republic of China confirmed themselves among the main actors of the hybrid threat, capable of conducting campaigns to the detriment of Western countries by exploiting some of the systemic characteristics that characterize our societies, such as the opening of markets and the guarantees of freedom and independence of the media”, we read in the document, according to which Moscow is currently “the most active” of the two actors. The report also underlined that “on the economic-financial front, Beijing has persevered in its strategy aimed at acquiring know-how and obtaining a competitive advantage based on innovation through various tools, from espionage to the implementation of joint venture, from commercial contacts through scientific cooperation promoted by Chinese companies to bilateral agreements at an academic level”.

It is therefore in the face of this worrying situation that the Northern League senator, Marco Dreosto, recently put forward a proposal to establish a parliamentary commission of inquiry into foreign interference. “In a context of increasingly heated global competition, where sectors of our economy are under attack, it becomes increasingly necessary to protect our strategic assets from the interference of foreign autocratic powers, which undermine the stability of the West, also following the alarms of intelligence, contained in the 2023 report”, said the senator, who, as an MEP, was part of the Inge commission. “The Italian parliament can and must be a protagonist in the defense of our strategic interests: following the example of what is already happening in the European parliament with the Inge commission, Italy can be a precursor of initiatives of this kind, for greater collaboration between national parliaments of the West and to create a front of resistance to the ongoing alignment of autocratic powers, such as the Chinese and Russian ones,” he added Dreosto.

The issue of foreign interference – especially by Russia, China and Iran – is, in short, particularly urgent. It is therefore best not to be caught unprepared.