Parliamentary Hearing on scale of UAE foreign lobbying & influence network in EU

Brussels, European Parliament, 10 May 2022 (17.45-18.45)


 
On 10 May (17:45 - 18:45), the Subcommittee of Human Rights (DROI) of the European Parliament is convening an exchange of views to discuss the extensive report on the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE’s) efforts to influence European policy, recently released by Droit au Droit
 
The report, “UNDUE INFLUENCE: an investigative report on foreign interference by the United Arab Emirates in the democratic processes of the European Union”, reveals the scale and intensity of the UAE’s lobbying efforts across the EU. Based on hundreds of person/hours of meticulous research through public records, and interviews with dozens of current and former Members of Parliament; Diplomats and senior officials; academics, journalists and other “insiders”, the report exposes the strategy and scale of the UAE’s lobbying campaign across the EU institutions and wider “Brussels bubble”- channelled through policy centres, think tanks and consultancy firms with close ties to the UAE establishment. Without serious steps to address the undue influence and access by those who do not share our values; the EU’s democratic processes will remain extremely vulnerable, and its integrity on key principles such as human rights highly susceptible to the interests of human rights violators. 
 
The report’s authors conclude that the EU and its democratic processes remain vulnerable to foreign influence campaigns without real steps to tighten up regulations on the registration of organisations and lobbyists working in Brussels on behalf of foreign governments, proper training and support for EU officials, and extending checks and balances against foreign interference. The report contains specific recommendations for EU institutions to tighten up protections against foreign interference. 
 
The exchange of views will shine a light on the human rights impact of foreign interference operations by Gulf countries, including by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which has rapidly emerged as a regional and international powerhouse over the past two decades. A panel of experts will cover the broad scope of the UAE’s foreign interference, from the internet, to the battlefield, and political arena: 
 
Shelby Grossman, of Stanford University Internet Observatory, is the author of numerous books and articles on Middle East influence operations through social media manipulation and her intervention will focus on new tactics and narratives in online Gulf influence operations based Twitter and Facebook networks, aimed to shape and constrain public opinion, with consequences for both virtual and real-life popular mobilisation. 
Rula Jebreal, is an award-winning journalist, author and Visiting Professor at The University of Miami, where she currently teaches a course on “Persuasion, Propaganda and Genocide”. She discuss the weaponization of disinformation, the “war on truth” and conspiracy theories aimed at destabilizing the world’s democracies, and the impact on the global far-right movements. 
Nicola Giovannini, is the Executive Director of Droit au Droit, which recently published an extensive investigative report revealing the scale and intensity of the UAE’s lobbying and foreign interference by the United Arab Emirates in the democratic processes of the European Union to promote a foreign-led agenda that runs contrary to EU human rights principles and ultimately also contrary to EU foreign policy and security interests. 
 
For enquiries or to obtain a copy of the report and comment/interviews with any of the speakers, please contact: info@dadinternational.org