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For the more than 60 people, mostly pro-independence Catalans, known to have been spied on using espionage software that only governments can access, CatalanGate is "the most serious case of espionage in Spanish democracy," the president of Catalonia, Pere Aragonès, declared on the steps of the Congress of Deputies in Madrid today, after meeting with the political parties that have been affected by the case. For this reason, Aragonès sent a direct message to Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez, telling him that "someone has to take responsibility for this scandal." "Right now the ball is in the court of the Spanish state, which has to decide how transparent it is and what level of responsibility it intends to take," he warned, in addition to demanding measures that are clear, specific and immediate".

Despite the statements he made yesterday in which he demanded a face-to-face meeting with Sánchez, Aragonés pointed out that he is not only asking for a meeting with the PM, but also demanding facts and decisions; he insisted that Sánchez explain if he knew that this espionage had been carried out and what he planned to do about it. While the president was speaking in Madrid, Sánchez was in Kyiv where he had travelled to meet with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky.


Pere Aragonès: "The Spanish government has to state if it ordered the espionage, if it knew about it, and what actions it's going to take about it."

Aragonés has proposed specific measures that he considers essential, including the congressional commission of inquiry, which different parties in the Spanish house have called for, including junior coalition partner Podemos; also, for the Spanish government to conduct internal inquiries with independent supervision to provide full transparency. "And finally, they must take responsibility and we can't waut forever, we can't let time go by, we can't accept that the solution the government has in mind is just to let time pass. We need accountability and above all transparency so that all of us who were spied on can know - because there are people who have been spied on and don't know - who gave the order, who was aware of it and what data they obtained," he asserted.

Government "collaboration" unviable 

Although he did not specify at what level responsibility has to be assumed, Aragonès warned that in a legislature it is necessary to preserve a minimum level of confidence, which at the moment is zero, and demanded that fair play be restored and that espionage not be part of the way politics is carried out in Spain. "If this cannot be re-established, it is unviable that any political collaboration can continue, it is impossible that there can be the necessary context of trust that must accompany the relationship between governments and parliamentary groups," he said.

In a cloud of journalists, the Catalan leader recalled that it was known so far that more than 60 people had been victims of the spyware , including the last four presidents of Catalonia and the last two speakers of the Catalan Parliament, and that not only "individual rights had been violated, but also the collective rights of citizens have been limited." "For arguing in favour of the independence of Catalonia we have no fewer rights than any other citizen, than other elected representatives. If someone considers that this is not the case, it gives us another reason to constitute ourselves as soon as possible as an independent state, which protects the rights of citizens, regardless of their ideology," he added.

"If you want your partner in the legislature to continue to support you, you have to make decisions, be very clear and get to the bottom of this matter. Based on the decisions taken or not taken by the Spanish government, decisions will also be taken by the Catalan government and political parties about the future of the legislature," he said.

The minority Pedro Sánchez government came to power by a parliamentary margin of two votes in January 2000, being effectively propped up by the abstention of Aragonès's ERC (13 seats) and the Basque party EH Bildu (5). The problem for both the Catalan and Basque pro-independence parties is that withdrawing support to enable an alternative government, presumably led by the right-wing People's Party, would be even less beneficial to their interests. In any case, on some issues relating to the pro-independence parties, the parties of the right themselves have buttressed the Socialists.

Meeting with political parties 

Before demanding immediate action from Sánchez, Aragonès met this morning with representatives of political groups in the Spanish Congress: the four Catalan pro-independence parties ERC (Gabriel Rufián and Montse Bassa), Junts (Míriam Nogueras), the CUP (Mireia Vehí and Albert Botran) and PDeCAT (Ferran Bel); the Basques, EH Bildu (Mertxe Aizpurua and Iñaki Ruiz de Pinedo), and later he met with representatives of Podemos, including the group's leader in the house, Jaume Asens, and spokesperson, Pablo Echenique.

This message, on the need to assume responsibilities, was repeated by the spokespeople of the parliamentary groups with whom Aragonès met this morning in Congress. In fact, at the end of the meeting, Echenique was even more explicit and claimed that, if the hacking had been carried out illegally, an investigation would be needed in the ministries of defense and interior and there would be a need for "responsibility attributed, heads to roll"; whereas, if the measures had been taken with judicial approval, the government would be forced to apologize and ensure that this does not happen again. For his part, Asens asked Aragonès for this controversy to not lead to the rupture of relations with the Spanish government because that is just what "the sewers of the state" would like.

From Junts, Míriam Nogueras, herself one of the victims of the Pegasus software espionage, warned that if the Sánchez government does not clear up responsibilities, it will mean that it is complicit. The Junts spokesperson, who pointed out that the espionage may have continued after 2020, called the scandal an "ideological persecution".

Congress leadership has taken no action

The affected Spanish MPs affirmed that the Congress has not contacted them over this case, even though the devices they use as parliamentarians have been hacked. The CUP's Mireia Vehí said that the responsibility of the Spanish government and the CNI spy agency in the case is becoming increasingly clear and warned that "ERC cannot continue to act normally in this dialogue table" because the independence movement is being persecuted and it would not be credible to maintain the same line.

During the meeting with Aragonès, the groups agreed to study joint actions in Congress to maintain the active status of the denunciation of the CatalanGate espionage​.