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The confirmation that arrived today via the Spanish Congress's official secrets committee that Spain's CNI intelligence agency have spied on the president of Catalonia, Pere Aragonès - and with judicial authorization - has further complicated the already damaged relations between the Catalan and Spanish governments. The president has issued a statement this evening insisting on his demand for a response "at the highest level" and the declassification of the judicial authorization. He also demands that someone take responsibility for this espionage. In fact, the text points directly to the defence ministry. At the same time, sources at the Spanish government asserts that the executive "didn't know anything and nor could they know." All this takes place on the eve of Pedro Sánchez's trip to Barcelona to take part in the closure of the annual Cercle d'Economia business gathering, where he will coincide with Aragonès.

The executive in Barcelona has remained silent for hours after it became known that this morning in Congress the director of the CNI, Paz Esteban, had confirmed espionage against 18 pro-independence figures, including Aragonès and people surrounding the president in exile Carles Puigdemont. However, at 7pm, a statement was issued by the Catalan president regarding "information indicating that the CNI, a service integrated into the Spanish ministry of defence", had acknowledged espionage with judicial authorization.

This information, according to the note, "confirms and increases the gravity of the case of massive espionage by the Spanish state against the Catalan institutions" that the Citizen Lab uncovered, a case which it describes as a "flagrant violation of the rights to privacy, political and institutional participation, both of the people spied on and all those who had any interaction with them. In the face of this situation, the Catalan government demands that the judicial authorization be declassified immediately in order to know its motivations and to be able to exercise the right to defence, and it asserts that it is urgent to receive public explanations in order to know who gave the political authorization and who was aware of it. "We demand a response at the highest level," it concludes, warning that "the assumption of responsibilities cannot be delayed".

On the other hand, the Moncloa government palace assures that the Pedro Sánchez government did not know anything about the authorization, that they are not informed of this type of action by the CNI and that they share the need to clarify the situation. For this reason, they point out that, in addition to Congress's official secrets committee, mechanisms have been activated such as the investigation by the Spanish ombudsman, and have guaranteed the will of the government to declassify the documents that have been requested so that they can be investigated. The Spanish government reiterates, despite the controversy that has left the relationship between the two executives in a disastrous state, that they maintain the commitment to dialogue.

The Catalan government and the president himself have called for a meeting to demand explanations. Although Sánchez and Aragonès will meet at the Cercle d'Economia, the Catalan side has made it clear it is not a photograph that is required, but a face-to-face meeting. However, the image of the meeting of the two leaders in the midst of a political storm will be one of the most sought after of the day.