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Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

France Enacts Law to Combat Foreign Interference


Thu 06 Jun 2024 | 11:33 AM
Israa Farhan

The French Parliament has passed a law aimed at strengthening the country's legislative framework to combat foreign interference.

This move comes amid rising tensions related to the ongoing conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza, according to Agence France-Presse.

Four days ahead of the European elections on June 9, the proposed legislation was put forward by President Emmanuel Macron's Renaissance majority.

The law was approved with a substantial majority in the National Assembly, securing 138 votes in favor and 10 against.

The new law includes the creation of a national influence registry, measures to freeze financial assets, and enhanced monitoring of foreign interference using algorithms currently employed in anti-terrorism efforts.

Constance Le Grip, a member of Macron's party and one of the lawmakers who drafted the proposal emphasized the importance of these measures.

She stated that they are essential given the proven and serious nature of foreign interventions in France.

Le Grip pointed to recent incidents as evidence of such interference, including the spray-painted Stars of David on walls in the Paris area, red handprints on Holocaust memorials, and "fake coffins" placed under the Eiffel Tower last Saturday.

These actions are suspected to be part of destabilization efforts allegedly orchestrated by Moscow.

Under the new law, representatives of foreign interests engaging in lobbying activities in France will be required to register in a national database. Violators will face a range of criminal penalties.

The measures target both individuals and entities attempting to influence public decision-making or official French policies.

This includes communication with parliamentarians, ministers, certain local elected officials, or former presidents.

Foreign entities behind such interference may include state-controlled companies, political parties from outside the European Union, or non-EU countries themselves.

Additionally, the law allows for the freezing of financial assets belonging to individuals, companies, or entities involved in interference activities.

The registry will be overseen by the High Authority for Transparency in Public Life, and it is set to become operational on July 1, 2025.

This lead time is intended to ensure that the authority is adequately funded and staffed to carry out its responsibilities effectively.