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Strengthening Democratic Resilience: U.S. and Romania Sign Landmark Memorandum of Understanding to Counter Foreign State Information Manipulation

Photo: US State Department

Washington, D.C. – June 21, 2024: In a significant move to bolster democratic resilience and counter the growing threat of foreign state information manipulation, U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken and Romanian Foreign Minister Luminita Odobescu signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Friday, June 21. The ceremony took place in Washington, D.C., marking a pivotal step in the cooperative efforts between the United States and Romania to safeguard democratic institutions and the integrity of information. As disinformation and misinformation campaigns increasingly target democratic societies, the signing of this MoU underscores the shared commitment of the U.S. and Romania to address these challenges head-on. The agreement is designed to enhance bilateral cooperation in identifying, preventing, and countering the malicious activities of foreign state actors who seek to undermine public trust and destabilize democratic processes.

The MoU outlines several key areas of collaboration:

Intelligence Sharing: Both countries will enhance the exchange of information regarding disinformation campaigns and the entities behind them. This includes real-time sharing of intelligence on tactics, techniques, and procedures used by foreign state actors.
Joint Research Initiatives: The U.S. and Romania will collaborate on research to better understand the evolving landscape of information manipulation. This includes studying the psychological and sociopolitical impacts of disinformation on public opinion and electoral processes.
Capacity Building: The agreement emphasizes the importance of building resilience within government institutions, media organizations, and civil society. This involves training programs, workshops, and joint exercises aimed at improving the ability to detect and respond to disinformation threats.
Public Awareness Campaigns: Both nations will work together to raise public awareness about the dangers of disinformation. This includes developing educational programs and public service announcements to help citizens recognize and critically evaluate false information.
Technological Collaboration: The U.S. and Romania will explore technological solutions to detect and counter disinformation. This includes leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning to identify and neutralize malicious content on social media platforms and other digital channels.
During the signing ceremony, Secretary Blinken highlighted the strategic importance of the MoU, stating, “In an era where information is weaponized to erode trust in democratic institutions, our partnership with Romania is more crucial than ever. This Memorandum of Understanding represents our unwavering commitment to protect our societies from those who seek to sow discord and division.”
Foreign Minister Odobescu echoed these sentiments, emphasizing Romania’s dedication to the cause. “Romania stands resolute with the United States in defending the principles of democracy and the free flow of accurate information. Together, we will work tirelessly to counter the threats posed by foreign state information manipulation and ensure that our citizens can trust the information they receive.”
The signing of this MoU is expected to have broader implications for international efforts to combat disinformation. It sets a precedent for other nations to follow, encouraging the formation of similar alliances to address the global challenge of information manipulation. By demonstrating a united front, the U.S. and Romania send a powerful message to malicious actors that their efforts to undermine democracy will not go unchallenged.
As the U.S. and Romania embark on this strengthened partnership, the focus will be on implementing the agreed-upon measures and evaluating their effectiveness. Regular consultations and reviews will ensure that the collaboration remains adaptive to the evolving nature of information threats.
The Memorandum of Understanding signed today between Secretary Antony J. Blinken and Foreign Minister Luminita Odobescu represents a milestone in the fight against foreign state information manipulation. By working together, the United States and Romania are not only protecting their own democratic institutions but also contributing to a broader, global effort to uphold the integrity of information in the digital age. 
By Roxana Stanica

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