EU leaders call for steps to tackle election disinformation

European Union leaders attend a round table meeting at an EU summit in Brussels, Friday, Dec. 14, 2018. European Union leaders have offered Theresa Ma

European Union leaders attend a round table meeting at an EU summit in Brussels, Friday, Dec. 14, 2018. European Union leaders have offered Theresa Ma

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, left, and European Council President Donald Tusk, right, speak with Austrian Chancellor Sebastian K

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, left, and European Council President Donald Tusk, right, speak with Austrian Chancellor Sebastian K

French President Emmanuel Macron, center, speaks with Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel, left, during a round table meeting at an EU summit in Bru

French President Emmanuel Macron, center, speaks with Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel, left, during a round table meeting at an EU summit in Bru

BRUSSELS (AP) — With European Union elections closing in, EU leaders are calling for measures to tackle the deliberate spread of disinformation.

EU leaders said Friday that the threat "is an acute and strategic challenge for our democratic systems."

In a statement from their summit in Brussels, the leaders call for "an urgent response that needs to be sustained over time, in full respect of fundamental rights."

They call for "swift and decisive action" aimed at "securing free and fair European and national elections," and the leaders order EU ministers to report back on progress in March.

Elections to the European Parliament are to be held across Europe in late May. Britain will not take part as it is leaving the bloc.