EU political parties sign election integrity code of conduct

The code of conduct, brokered by the European Commission, adds a layer of protection to the electoral campaign. However, the EU parties will be responsible for its implementation and monitoring.

EU flags in front of European Commission

The EU political parties are set to sign a new code of conduct on Tuesday, 9 April 2024, to safeguard the upcoming EU elections from foreign interference and disinformation. The initiative, brokered by the European Commission, is part of a broader effort to protect the integrity of the electoral process.

The code of conduct, overseen by Vice-President Věra Jourová, focuses on preventing the amplification of narratives led by non-EU entities that seek to undermine European values. Parties across the political spectrum, including left, socialists, centre-right, liberals, conservatives, greens, and far-right groups, are committing to proactive measures against spreading misinformation. They pledge to ensure transparency by labelling AI-generated content and not disseminating unfounded accusations or deceptive materials targeting other parties. Although this adds an extra layer of protection to the electoral campaign, the responsibility for implementation and monitoring falls on the European parties rather than national parties conducting the campaign on the ground.

Despite these commitments, the code of conduct lacks independent oversight and enforcement mechanisms instead of relying on the parties to promote compliance among their members and conduct post-election reviews. Commission Vice-President Jourová emphasised the symbolic importance of this collective commitment by European political parties to uphold the integrity of elections, urging them to adhere to ethical and fair campaigning practices in the coming months.

Why does it matter?

The agreement follows recent scandals involving European Parliament members, like Qatargate and Russiagate, and underlines the importance of defending democracy against foreign interference. While the code of conduct does not extend to national parties, it represents a significant step forward in addressing digital risks and maintaining transparency in electoral communications.