Russia, terrorism demand a ‘collective’ response says German defense minister

Russia, terrorism demand a ‘collective’ response says German defense minister
Russia, terrorism demand a ‘collective’ response says German defense minister

The West must forge a "good relationship with Russia" in order to resolve some of the world's largest problems, such as the Syrian crisis, said Von der Leyen, and added that it must not withstand any attempts to undermine its democratic values, including via the spread of fake news.

"It's a situation where you have to insist on your principles because they are important in the world we're moving in. But, on the other hand, we need a dialogue with Russia on different topics where we share common interests."

Referencing Russia "and others too", Von der Leyen said, "we are very open about them using bots and trolls and fake news to undermine the credibility of free medium and democratic institutions."

She called on politicians to make greater efforts to counter this, and the rise of populism, by doing more to educate society about this threat.

"The more we dismantle the patterns the more the public is able to acquire media competence on, for example, fake news that we face and this is a process that is crucial for the open society, the democracies, to convince their populations."

Von der Leyen's comments echo those also made by the German Minister of the Interior, Thomas de Maiziere.

Speaking to CNBC Saturday, de Maiziere said that citizens should be included by government and made to "feel important" in order to prevent them moving towards radical groups.

This, he said, should be a priority for collective governments.

"In a way we are dependent on each other because we are, in a way, in the same focus of international terrorism: we are together the West."

CNBC

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