Fake News: Portugal involved in seven cases of disinformation since 2019


Lisbon, Oct 25, 2022 (Lusa) – Portugal appears in seven cases of ‘fake news’ about Ukraine or Member States of the European Union (EU), detected between 2019 and 2022 by the European External Action Service’s working group on misinformation.

The EU today launched a new tool on the EUvsDisinfo website – a new section, available at – that “explains the mechanisms, tactics, common narratives and actors behind disinformation and information manipulation “.

EUvsDisinfo is the main project of the East StratCom working group, having been created in 2015 within the European External Action Service to better respond to ongoing Russian disinformation campaigns affecting the EU and its partners.

In a search in the EUvsDisinfo database carried out today by the Lusa agency, Portugal appears in seven cases of disinformation, with the first having been detected on September 9, 2019, also involving Italy, the United Kingdom, Spain and France.

The news, in Russian, from Sonar2050, mentioned that these countries were close to leaving the European Union, following Brexit by the United Kingdom, addressing the disintegration of the European project, due to the dominance of some countries over others, economic issues. or even the situation of migrants.

EUvsDisinfo, which dismantles each case of ‘fake news’, says that article “is a conspiracy that is consistent with a common pro-Kremlin narrative about the impending collapse of the EU”.

Also detected in 2019, on November 17, the Russian website Vesti7 states that French President Emmanuel Macron thinks that NATO was conceived as a response to the enemy [USSR], arguing that it was the opposite and that the Atlantic Alliance was thought of as a “threat to a friend against whom they fought against fascism”. The piece concludes that the creation of NATO was not justified.

Portugal is cited as a founding member of the Atlantic Alliance and EUvsDisinfo points out, in the rebuttal of the article, that historical revisionism is a recurring pro-Kremlin narrative and that, after World War II, Soviet troops occupied several Central European countries and that the North Atlantic Treaty was signed, serving three purposes: to deter Soviet expansionism, to prohibit the revival of nationalist militarism in Europe, and to encourage European political integration.

Already an article by News-front, a ‘website’ based in Crimea, occupied by Russia since 2014, mentioned on April 20, 2020 that cooperation between the Mediterranean countries, Portugal, Spain and Greece, called into question the hegemony of Germany. on the European continent.

According to the piece, Mediterranean countries suffered greatly from the tax regime imposed by Germany and during the covid-19 pandemic Berlin showed that it did not intend to help EU partners.

For EUvsDisinfo, the pandemic was used to boost the pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about “German hegemony in Europe” and “the supposed imminent collapse of the EU”, in addition to intending to pit several member states against each other.

Three different websites, in German (Snanews), Hungarian (Oroszhirek) and Russian (Armeniasputnik) refer on May 24, 2021 to an episode that took place in 2013, in which they accuse countries such as Portugal, France, Spain or Italy of ending the its airspace to the plane carrying the Bolivian President, Evo Morales, en route to Moscow and which had to land in Vienna, adding that the reason was the suspicion that former US intelligence agent Edward Snowden was on board the presidential plane, whose extradition was demanded by US authorities.

This narrative, it is explained, comes as a response to the episode of May 23, 2021, when Ryanair flight FR4978 was forcibly diverted to Minsk, for the arrest of a Belarusian opposition journalist, Roman Pratasevich. The EU condemned Belarus’ action against the civilian plane and the arrest of Pratasevich.

The mechanism to combat disinformation also states that the two cases cannot be compared, stressing that the Ryanair flight was intercepted by military fighter jets, armed with air-to-air missiles and that the Bolivian flight landed due to bureaucracy, with European nations refused entry into their airspace the aircraft landed in Austria because it needed refueling.

The most recent piece to address Portugal is from August 22, released by the Spanish version of the Russian-based international television network, RT, which accuses Germany of not showing solidarity with Portugal or Spain, and demanding allegiance to the think about building a gas pipeline to these countries.

According to EUvsDisinfo, this disinformation narrative “aims to arouse discontent and animosity against Germany among Spanish citizens” and “to erode European mutual trust and prevent the adoption of European solidarity measures that could mitigate the impact of Russia’s energy blackmail.” against the EU”.

“In terms of energy, both Spain and Portugal have more than enough supply to cover their needs due to their long-term investment in renewable energy and LNG plants and are capable of supplying up to 30% of Europe’s natural gas demand. . Some of the energy measures adopted by the European Commission are effectively the result of a joint proposal presented by Portugal and Spain, and not requirements of Germany’s own interest, as this message of disinformation implies.

The European External Action Service’s working group on disinformation detected 1,200 cases of disinformation in the European Union (EU) in one year regarding Ukraine and Member States.