Progressive and pro-European forces must fight for Europe together, with vision and passion!

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Leading S&D Euro MPs today welcomed Ricken Patel, president and CEO of Avaaz, who presented his network and debated on new forms of political communication and activism, as well as on the means available to improve the use of the internet and of new social media to tackle trolls, fake news and ‘alternative truth’ supporters.
 
S&D Group president Udo Bullmann said:
 
“Recent developments in Europe are alarming: they point to an erosion of the basic principles of democracy and rule of law and the growing distrust of EU citizens towards national governments and the EU. Challenges such as austerity, migration and asylum, unemployment and rising inequalities, have given rise to fear and far-right forces whose only aim is to dismantle what the EU has achieved. We cannot allow them to succeed!
 
“Time is up! Progressive and pro-Europeans must fight united for democracy. We must respond to the call of history and join forces to tackle the manifold challenges. This is not time for delays and micro-political gains. It is time for bold and forward-looking decisions to defend the European project and build the future that our children will live in. It is time for a strong and democratic Europe in solidarity that its citizens can trust; an EU that protects, inspires and delivers. Thus, let us unify and work together with purpose! Let us move ahead with vision and passion for Europe!
 
“We, Socialists and Democrats, will engage in joint projects with stakeholders to defend the EU’s values and regain the trust of the EU citizens. In March 2019, we will join forces with Avaaz and march for Europe. Many other projects will follow on 9 May and in the run-up to the EU elections.”
 
S&D Group vice-president responsible for the rule of law, Josef Weidenholzer MEP, added:
 
“In the past two years we have witnessed an attack against liberal democracy and rule of law in Europe and elsewhere. The revelations over the dodgy practices performed by Cambridge Analytica have shone a light on the risks the EU is faced with and on the powerful position opinion makers and social media networks have. We have already seen the repercussions of fake news and ‘alternative truth’ supporters. Populist, xenophobic and fear-spreading forces are there to remind us.
 
“In view of the 2019 elections, the need to tackle fake news now is even more imperative. We must ensure that the power of social media is not abused. To this end, our Group will work with other progressive forces to avoid a repeat of the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica scandal and guarantee fair and transparent European elections, wherein EU citizens decide.”
 
Note to editors:
 
Avaaz is an online community aiming at organising citizens across the globe to promote a progressive agenda, empowering millions of citizens to collectively act for democracy, human rights, the rule of law, environment, as well as fair governance and societies. Since its launching in 2007, it has become a major actor in new forms of activism based on new social media, currently gathering more than 48 million members, who sign massive petitions, fund media campaigns, e-mail, call and lobby governments, and organise ‘offline’ protests and events.
 
If you missed today's conference, you can watch it here