Election Interference in the Digital Age — Foreword

by Ann Mettler, Head of the European Political Strategy Centre
Ann Mettler

It is a great pleasure to welcome you to our HighLevel Conference on the timely theme of ‘Election Interference in the Digital Age: Building Resilience to Cyber-Enabled Threats’. This two-day event takes place under the political patronage of Sir Julian King, European Commissioner for the Security Union, and is organised by the European Political Strategy Centre, the European Commission’s in-house think tank, in collaboration with the Security Union Taskforce.

The aim of this event is to gather the views of leading experts to inform the European Commission’s ongoing work towards improving the security and resilience of electoral processes against constantly evolving cyberenabled threats.

This is particularly important with a number of watershed elections on the horizon, including the 2018 mid-term elections in the United States and the 2019 European Parliament elections — and as the toolkit for election interference expands and grows in sophistication, undermining democratic institutions and amplifying political and societal polarisation.

Given the wide array of issues covered throughout the sessions, we have set out to capture some of the valuable insights of our guests in a short collection of insightful essays. Our aim is simple: to ensure that our speakers’ contributions are able to reach beyond the conference’s immediate audience and to feed into the wider reflection at European level on how to preserve the integrity of electoral systems and democratic processes.

We are tremendously grateful that, amidst their heavy professional, academic and personal commitments, our speakers — as well as some of our participants — generously responded to our request for contributions. The result is a unique collection of over 34 original short essays addressing the different themes of the Conference.

I sincerely hope that you will enjoy both the Conference and this collection of think pieces, and that they may trigger further dialogue and reflection on how to shape better policies and build up resilience.