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Brussels asks Spain about the use of Pegasus

The European Commission has appealed to Hungary, Poland, Greece and Spain to use Pegasus. These are four countries where espionage against political rivals, journalists, activists and lawyers has been reported, and in some cases accredited. According to a Citizen Lab investigation, a massive case of espionage involving up to 65 people has been uncovered in Spain. Days later, the government revealed that President Pedro Sánchez and Defense Minister Margarita Robles had also been spied on a year earlier.

“I’m going to ask about the follow-up to the Pegasus case,” said European Commissioner for Justice Didier Reinders: “There is a follow-up in the European Parliament through the Commission and we had. An opportunity to write to several member states, including the Spanish authorities, to find out exactly what happened to the case.”

Indeed, according to a question addressed to the executive by the Pegasus Parliamentary Commission, Brussels wrote to the Spanish authorities on May 24, but has yet to receive a response.

In this way, Reinders explains: “We have written to the Spanish authorities and now we want to have a detailed report on what has been done and the status of the procedures within the logic of the rule of law when national security instruments are used. What we want to check is that these tools are used in a proportionate, necessary and legal way. Often respect for legality requires the authority of a judge, as in many laws, and we are going to ask about that. I know that there is an investigation, that there are a number of steps that have been taken in Spain, and I am going to ask someone to explain to me now what the exact situation is based on the letter that my general manager sent some time ago. before the Spanish authorities”.

“Following press reports and letters received from MEPs (in the case of Poland, also from the President of the Polish Supreme Audit Office, NIK), the European Commission services sent letters to Hungary, Poland, Spain and Greece. Letters to Hungary and Poland were sent on February 14; in Spain, on May 24; and Greece on 29 July 2022,” explains Brussels in its response to MEPs: “The European Commission seeks to gather information on the national legislative framework and its relationship with Union law on data protection, including the criteria used to define the scope. on national security and how it respects EU law.”

According to the community’s executive authority, “Hungary responded on May 11, and Poland on March 29. Spain has not yet responded. Greece responded on August 2.” The Greek case is related to the attempt to spy on the mobile phone of a member of the European Parliament (Socialist).

Brussels explains that “it will continue to gather factual and legal information, assess the interaction between national data protection legislation and EU legislation and assess the issue in the light of all available information. The European Commission will closely monitor the findings of the Committee of Inquiry on Pegasus.

The mission of the European Parliament in Spain, in the air

MEPs decided to travel to Poland, Israel and Hungary to spy on Pegasus. And in May, an attempt was made to reach an agreement in principle on further expansion of the missions in Spain and the USA. But the decision awaits “formalization” and “ratification”, according to sources consulted by elDiario.es, while the mission to Spain is not yet among the main priorities. popular and European socialists.

The visit, expected to be in Madrid, will follow trips to Poland, Israel and Hungary, and possibly the US, but that will depend on whether the commission of inquiry continues.

in the first list popular Spain did not appear to be a top priority – it was in fifth place – and neither did the Socialists – Hungary, Poland and Israel were chosen without a mention of Spain.

Socialist sources claim: “Among all the missions, we must see which one is most necessary for the purposes of the commission. What I can say is that we are not going to veto a mission in Spain.”

The missions are opposed by the majority of ultra-conservative MEPs (ECR), whose group includes Vox, whose spokesman, Jorge Buxade, told independents in the European Parliament last Wednesday: “They were spied on a bit.” The members of PiS, the ruling party of Poland, are also against it, and they are accused of spying on the opposition and journalists.

Missions can only be carried out during certain weeks of the parliamentary calendar – they cannot be plenary, mini-plenary or committee weeks, for example – so there cannot be an infinite number.

The initial duration of the commission of inquiry is 12 months. Work plans are usually semester-long, so they can propose three missions for the second half of 2022 and then request a second package for the first half of 2023 (although their mandate in principle ends in April, it can be renewed for a maximum of six more months).

In any case, for the Commission’s missions outside the three workplaces – Brussels, Strasbourg and Luxembourg – the Conference of Presidents, which brings together the leaders of the European Parliament groups with President Roberta Mezzola, issues an opinion. Which will be followed by the final decision of the Bureau of the European Parliament. Proposals are usually submitted twice a year, but can be submitted at any time if the groups deem it appropriate.

Source: El Diario

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