G7 to pledge joint defense of democracies from foreign threats: EU official

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - G7 leaders will commit at their summit this week to cooperate in defending democracies from foreign threats and establish a response mechanism for that purpose, a senior EU official said on Tuesday.

The G7 are the United States, Canada, Japan, Britain, France, Germany and Italy. Their leaders are to meet in Charelvoix in Canada on June 8-9.

“We have been very supportive of a Charlevoix commitment on defending democracy from foreign threats,” a senior EU official said.

“That could be one of the documents adopted in Charlevoix. In this context, leaders will commit to strengthen their cooperation to prevent, thwart and respond to unacceptable interference by foreign actors aimed at undermining the democratic processes and the national interest of the G7 states,” the official said.

“The intention is to establish a G7 rapid response mechanism tot strengthen our coordination in this field,” the official said.

In March, the United States imposed sanctions on Russian individuals and entities for meddling in the 2016 U.S. elections, and research showed that Russian Twitter accounts pumped out messages in support of the opposition Labour party in an attempt to influence last year’s British election.

Other Western democracies are also concerned about Russian meddling in their electoral processes.

Reporting By Jan Strupczewski, editing by Larry King