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Democracy might have been broken perpetually within the final four years, EU chief says

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European Fee President Ursula Von Der Leyen addresses European lawmakers on the inauguration of the brand new President of the USA.


LONDON — World leaders are fearful that democracy has been broken perpetually throughout Donald Trump’s time in workplace, European Fee President Ursula von der Leyen mentioned on Tuesday.

“A 12 months in the past, my bilateral talks revolved primarily across the query: Would the U.S. authorities impose punitive tariffs on European carmakers? Right this moment, a 12 months later, we’re worrying about whether or not democracy itself may need been completely broken within the final 4 years,” von der Leyen mentioned throughout a speech on the Davos Agenda summit.

The photographs of riots on the U.S. Capitol, the center of the U.S.’ policymaking physique, in early January shocked European leaders, and revived discussions over the position of social media within the unfold of disinformation and potential political unrest.

Within the meantime, Home Democrats delivered impeachment prices towards the previous president to the Senate on Monday night. Trump is being accused of inciting violence towards the U.S. authorities.

He had pressured former Vice President Mike Pence to overturn the results of the presidential election and repeated that in a rally, after which 1000’s of supporters marching instantly on the Capitol, the place the riots then occurred. Trump has not taken any duty for the unrest that in the end led to the dying of 5 individuals.

Twitter and different digital companies determined to ban or impose restrictions on the accounts of the previous president within the aftermath of the riots, arguing “the danger of additional incitement of violence.”

The enterprise mannequin of on-line platforms has an impression not solely on free and honest competitors, but additionally on our democracies.

Ursula von der Leyen

European Fee President

Talking on Tuesday, von der Leyen mentioned: “We should additionally handle the darker sides of the digital world.”

“Like for thus many people, the storming of the Capitol got here as a shock to me. We’re at all times fast to say: Democracy and values, they’re a part of our DNA. And that’s true. However we should nurture our democracy daily, and defend our establishments towards the corrosive energy of hate speech, disinformation, pretend information and incitement to violence,” von der Leyen mentioned.

The European Fee has new legal guidelines within the making that will impose stricter controls on digital companies, corresponding to Twitter and Fb. The laws, which may very well be in drive inside two years, might go so far as requesting these firms to unveil their algorithms — one thing that they’ve refused to do for years because it might put their enterprise fashions in danger.

“The enterprise mannequin of on-line platforms has an impression not solely on free and honest competitors, but additionally on our democracies, our safety and on the standard of our data. That’s the reason we have to comprise this immense energy of the large digital firms,” von der Leyen mentioned.

She additionally requested the brand new U.S. administration to work with the EU over tech regulation.

Talking to CNBC final week, von der Leyen mentioned that President Joe Biden and the European Union are “on the identical web page” on the subject of regulating tech giants.


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