The European Council conclusions of June 2018 called for the formulation of an action plan with specific proposals for a co-ordinated EU response to disinformation. A joint action plan was subsequently developed by the Commission and the European External Action Service and endorsed by the European Council in December 2018, with the aim of improving the detection and analysis of disinformation, strengthening co-operation and joint responses, mobilising the private sector, raising awareness and increasing societal resilience.
The objective of the action plan is to create a consolidated approach among the EU institutions and member states to disinformation activities, especially in the context of the upcoming European parliamentary elections. In particular, the EU has established a rapid alert system focused on electoral disinformation. Comprising national points of contact, this system informs member states of disinformation activities and facilitates information-sharing on threat analysis, trends, best practices and lessons learned.
The EU Commission has also prepared a code of practice on disinformation, which was signed in October 2018 and saw a range of online platforms, leading social networks, advertisers and the advertising industry agree a self regulatory code of practice to address the spread of online disinformation and fake news. This code of practice sets out a wide range of commitments from transparency in political advertising to the closure of fake accounts. The code is an essential step in ensuring transparent, fair and trustworthy online campaign activities ahead of the European elections.