Rossana Sampugnaro Hans-Jörg Trenz

Saving the Elections. EU Strategies to Fight Disinformation in the Age of Post-truth Politics

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Political entrepreneurship of the European Commission in the field of disinformation can be interpreted as a successful example of agenda-coupling concurrently addressing the need to regulate digital markets and democratic elections and thus expanding EU regulatory authority and facilitating transformative policy change. As part of the EU digital strategy, the market-corrective efforts of the EU democracy initiatives remain subordinated to the broader objective of ensuring innovation and competitiveness of open digital markets and to build «digital sovereignty» of the EU for the future. The study examines the gradual and slow shift of agenda of disinformation as an external threat to disinformation as an internal challenge to democracy with a focus on political parties and elections. In a second part and based on a systematic content analysis of the Commission’s documents leading to the drafting of the «European Democracy Action» between 2017 and 2022, we reconstruct the EU’s institutional pathway of establishing a disinformation regulatory agenda in terms of problem diagnosis, areas of intervention and main interlocutors.


  • digitalisation
  • disinformation
  • election integrity
  • European democracy
  • post-truth


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