With extensive news in America of suspected Russian involvement in the election which left Donald Trump as the president of the United States and their suspected interference in the campaign ahead of Britain's Brexit vote, EU ministers are now expected to increase resources in countering Russian fake news campaigns. Spain told a meeting of EU foreign and defence ministers on Monday it suspected "disinformation and manipulation" was emanating from Russia during the Catalan independence crisis.
Madrid said on Friday it was concerned by Russian social media activity on Catalonia, after misleading reports and images shared widely online helped fuel the standoff triggered by the banned October 1st independence referendum.
"I will raise the question of how misinformation and manipulation around the referendum and subsequent events in Catalonia have developed," Spanish Foreign Minister Alfonso Dastis said.
"These situations of disinformation, of manipulation arise not only on our eastern flank but in other areas."
Spain's Defence Minister Dolores de Cospedal said it was clear that a lot the messaging on social media around the Catalan crisis came from Russian territory, though a definitive link to the government has yet to be proved.
"It is important that we know that there are certain entities, which may be public or private, that try to interfere in national politics, that try to affect and create unstable situations in Europe," De Cospedal said.
"We have the obligation to declare openly, that public opinion knows about it and to fight against it."