Esquerra denounces the Catalangate espionage scandal before the European Parliament’s Pegasus inquiry committee

Esquerra MEPs propose the creation of a European Parliament protocol against cyber espionage

Esquerra Republicana MEPs Diana Riba and Jordi Solé are both members of the European Parliament’s Committee of inquiry to investigate the use of the Pegasus and equivalent surveillance spyware in the European Union (PEGA). However, they intervened today as victims of espionage. The committee heard their particular cases and learned more about the Catalangate scandal, to debate the possible political and judicial responses that the Community institutions must carry out in the face of these violations of fundamental rights.

On taking the floor, MEP Jordi Solé, the first political official summoned to testify on the case in Spain, was clear in speaking before the committee: “this is a State operation; illegitimate political espionage, arbitrary, extensive and anti-democratic, to which the European institutions must respond.” In this regard, Esquerra’s MEP recalled that the vast majority of cases of espionage were carried out “without warrants” and he demanded explanations from the National Intelligence Center and the Spanish government. For Mr Solé, answers on the Catalangate affair must be provided since “we are facing facts that undermine the rule of law that Europe so often means to champion.”

Esquerra’s lawmaker regretted that 160 days after the espionage scandal came to light, “only two victims have been called to testify in court, while the case of espionage against members of the Spanish government is on a judicial fast track.” In Spain, there are first- and second-class victims and this “must be condemned,” he stressed.

For all these reasons, Mr Solé called for a “unanimous” response, since “spying on even one single MEP endangers the integrity and sovereignty of the entire chamber.”

Protocol against cyber espionage

For her part, Esquerra’s spokesperson in the EP Diana Riba highlighted the fact that after meeting with Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders and the President of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola, “some steps in the right direction” have been taken. “We value the Commissioner’s visit to Madrid, where he asked for explanations about the use of Pegasus, and welcome the establishment of a technical service for the detection of infections for the European Parliament, but that is not enough,” lamented the MEP.

Ms Riba demanded the drafting of a “Parliamentary protocol to deal with cyber espionage” that “systematizes the response that European institutions must give when a European public official suffers an attack of this kind.” The protocol, which Ms Riba threshed out during her intervention, “should be used to defend our immunity and to place all the resources of the institution, both political and legal, at the disposal of the victim in order to do justice and repair the damage caused.”