Read in Catalan

The decision of the European Parliament to send a delegation to Spain in March to investigate the espionage carried out with Pegasus is bad news for the Pedro Sánchez government and good news for the Catalan independence movement. After several months of struggle over the issue, it seemed that the powerful pressures exerted by the Spanish government had been enough, firstly, to slow down the arrival of the MEPs in Madrid and, then, to run down the clock so that the one-year mandate for the work of the committee would expire. However, the committee has been given three more months to complete its work and this open door has allowed the entry of the initiative to go to Madrid and explore the massive scandal of the espionage carried out with Pegasus software, which was used to illegally hack the phones of several dozen people across the pro-independence world.

This committee that is investigating the use of Pegasus has already pointed to the Spanish government as responsible for the Catalangate espionage and has denounced the lack of information provided by the authorities to enable them to carry out their investigation. In the 159 pages of the preliminary report that was drafted, it was established without any dispute that there were no national security reasons for spying on the pro-independence parties, the reason which the government of Spain gave at the time of requesting the necessary judicial order from the Spanish courts to spy on some of the prominent names on the Pegasus list. Of the 59 pro-independence figures who, according to the comprehensive report made by the University of Toronto's Citizen Lab research centre, were spied on, a total of 18 were officially targeted by Spain's National Intelligence Centre with the required permission from the court.

Through this system, using Pegasus, the phones of the last four presidents of Catalonia were accessed: from Artur Mas, Carles Puigdemont, Quim Torra to current president Pere Aragonès, as well as those of several dozen other politicians, lawyers, journalists and activists. All this with one main objective: to know at all times what they were doing and what political decisions would be taken by both the Catalan institutions and the pro-independence parties - Junts, ERC, PDeCAT and the CUP - and the sovereignist bodies in civil society, Òmnium Cultural and the Catalan National Assembly. A veritable barbarity, involving the carrying out of all kinds of crimes against a state of law that the Spanish government has tried to protect as much as it could from European scrutiny. With the arrival of a delegation from the European Parliament, this protective bubble has been punctured and it is left with little room to defend itself.

A clear example of the position of stubborn disobedience that this issue provokes in the Socialists is that, for example, the committee that has been created on the subject in the Parliament of Catalonia underwent a walk-out by the MPs from the PSC last Friday, when the lawyers Gonzalo Boye, Andreu Van den Eynde and Benet Salellas appeared on the first day of hearings. Now, with the decision of the European Parliament to travel to Spain, the international focus on the state for the Pegasus case will be sharpened again. And not without good reason, since we are dealing with the most significant case of espionage uncovered in Europe in recent decades, which brings to light a way of operating that is absolutely incompatible with democratic standards. This is a weighty matter for the European committee, which has already formed an initial idea over the way that the Spanish government has conducted itself, as its draft report has stated.

What is to be expected now is that the European committee members will not come for the sightseeing and will in the end do the work that awaits them. Because they will have no shortage of information: if it is not through the official channel, it will be through one of the other channels that allowed the scandal to be revealed.