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The Catalan pro-independence parties have concluded their meeting with the MEPs of the Pegasus committee convinced that the battle can still be won. According to them, the Pegasus case still has a long way to go, quite apart from their criticism of the "obstructionism" of the Spanish government that has re-emerged in the last week. That is why the Republican Left (ERC), Together for Catalonia (Junts) and Popular Unity (the CUP) hold out hopes that the European chamber will take note, that it will act forcefully to prevent further cases of espionage from happening and that it will ban the use of these programs, as the Parliament of Catalonia voted to do in a resolution. After meeting with the European parliamentary mission at the EU institution's headquarters in Madrid, the representatives of the three Catalan parties have the sensation that the mass espionage affair still arouses concern in Brussels and they hope that spyware such as Pegasus will be banned.

In a joint appearance at the Catalan government's Blanquerna cultural centre in Madrid, Marta Vilalta, from ERC, said that "the Pegasus file is very much alive, on all fronts, so that justice can be done in all cases". Vilalta called on the European mission to "seek the maximum of facts and conclusions" with the aim of "laying the foundations for guarantees of non-repetition". The Republicans put the emphasis on "clarifying the rules" and for MEPs to "be proactive and shed light on what the Spanish institutions are not doing".

ERC and Junts are in agreement that, from the results of the committee's work, "the regulation and the prohibition of Pegasus" must emerge. "There should be a moratorium and a ban on spyware" asserted Josep Rius of Junts, because the use of the spyware means that rights cannot be guaranteed. In addition, Rius said that he hopes that "the founding values of the European Union will be asserted" and that the "obstructionism" of the Spanish authorities will be verified and "who is behind Pegasus" will become known. According to the Junts spokesperson, "the belligerent attitude of the PSOE and PP deputies" was demonstrated at the meeting with the committee, at which he got into a dispute with former minister Juan Ignacio Zoido. In addition, Rius promised that, taking advantage of the upcoming Spanish presidency of the European Union, "they will redouble the pressure so that Pedro Sánchez has to give explanations".

Junts shows up ERC

The image of unity was not complete, though, as Rius raised the issue of ERC's pacts with the PSOE. "It is difficult at the European level to understand that you support a government that spies on you", said Rius, beside the rigid face of ERC spokesperson, Marta Vilalta, after regretting that the members of Junts who have been spied on will not be sharing the table tomorrow with the European mission, next to three ERC politicians: Aragonès, Serret and Maragall. ERC sources respond that the Junts victims of espionage also had their say this Monday, they have had a say in the European Parliament and they will have a say this Tuesday in the Defence Committee of the Spanish Congress. For the CUP, Montserrat Vinyets saw "an attempt by the most powerful to obstruct any investigation" and denounced that "the PSOE and the PP have conspired to give the committee as little importance as possible".

Josep Rius (Junts) in Madrid: "With this attitude from the PSOE and PP it is difficult to investigate the Spanish state's espionage against democratic options and we trust that the European institutions can go much further in terms of attributing where responsibility lies."    

Tuesday, busy schedule

The first day of the European mission ended with a closed-door meeting between the MEPs and the Spanish government's secretary of state for European Affairs, Pascual Navarro. That was to be followed by an interview with three journalists from media published in Madrid. Tuesday's agenda will start at 9am. The Catalan president, Pere Aragonès, his foreign minister, Meritxell Serret, and the Barcelona city councillor, Ernest Maragall, all victims of the espionage, will have a face to face with the MEPs. It is over this meeting that Junts is unhappy, claiming "transversality" which has not been met.

At mid-morning the European group will meet the director of Security and Justice for the Spanish Ombudsman's office, Andrés Jiménez, and at noon, the delegation will move to the Congress of Deputies, where the debate on Vox's no-confidence motion against Pedro Sánchez will be underway. The committee, however, will be there because it has arranged a meeting behind closed doors with Spanish MPs who are members of Congress's defence and official secrets committees, among them deputies whose devices were hacked with Pegasus, such as Míriam Nogueras (Junts) and Jon Iñarritu (Bildu). They will be there around midday before returning to the European Parliament's offices in Madrid.