Romanian Social Democrat MEP Dan Nica (photo) has sent a letter to the President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, complaining about the statement made by Luxembourg MEP Frank Engel on PM Viorica Dancila. Engel had told ziare.com that, during a debate in Brussels, PM Dancila would have told Socialist MEPs that there is no corruption in Romania, but „a merely cultural behaviour for thanking someone”. Nica explained that, according to the audio recordings of that meeting, no such statement had been actually made and that it is just fake news.
„Dear President, I am writing to you regarding a sensitive situation in Romania generated by a statement made by one of our fellow colleagues from the European Parliament.
Recently, Mr. Frank Engel (MEP, EPP) had an interview with the Romanian online media outlet Ziare.com in which he expressed various opinions about the EU, statements which are very beneficial and educational especially in the run up to the European elections.
The issue that generates our concern is the statement he made regarding Prime Minister Dăncilă, statement which was translated into the headline of the interview. In this context, he made the allegation that PM Dăncilă stated, during the S&D Group meeting of 15th of January, that there is no actual corruption in Romania, “which is merely a cultural behaviour for thanking someone”.
In order to be accurate, we checked the audio-recordings of the quoted meeting and no such statement was made in reality. Consequently, this constitutes a clear example of fake news, as MEP Engel, making use of existing negative prejudices against the image of Romania, claimed to have heard this from an unnamed S&D Hungarian MEP,” reads Dan Nica’s letter to the EP President.
He further asked Tajani to openly call „for the discouragement of any kind of campaign based on fake news.”
„In the run up to the European elections, I would like to address you with the kind request of openly calling for the discouragement of any kind of campaign based on fake news. In the European Parliament, we are actively and openly condemning this practice, especially when generated by foreign actors. However, apart from combating disinformation campaigns initiated by foreign actors, we should equally pay increased attention to the behaviour we, as elected members of the European Parliament,promote inside the European Union, as this risks creating a much higher damage.
To conclude, I would like to highlight that a statement was already released in the Romanian media revealing the fake news, based on the solid proof of the audio recording. However, the credibility of the European Parliament’s image is at stake if we allow for such practices to continue in the future,” the letter says.