Spain is the only EU member state suspected of using Pegasus espionage software that has not yet responded to questions from Brussels. As the ACN news agency has reported, the other affected countries, Greece, Hungary and Poland have already responded to the request by the European Commission (EC) asking for information on the use of this software to carry out illegal monitoring of communications and activities. But Spain has not yet done so. This has been admitted by the European executive in writing in response to a question posed by the European Parliament's committee investigating cyberespionage. While the rest of the countries responded in a matter of weeks, Spain has ignored the request of the EC for almost four months. During the State of the Union debate held this Wednesday, exiled Catalan president and MEP Carles Puigdemont once again held up to the Commission the fact that dozens of Catalan pro-independence leaders and supporters had been spied on, along with lawyers, journalists, and family members: "Democracy must be strengthened from 'within', he responded to EU leader Ursula von der Leyen.
Al #SOTEU22 amb la presidenta @vonderleyen, el MHP @KRLS ha denunciat l'ús de Pegasus contra rivals polítics i periodistes a Grècia i l'estat espanyol, com aquest darrer incompleix del 61% de les sentències del TEDH, i també les reunions de comissaris amb l'extrema dreta. pic.twitter.com/o5CnbCSxgo— Junts i Lliures per Europa (@JuntsEU) September 14, 2022
Spain ignores Brussels's request for information
The letter in which the EC asked Spain for more information on the espionage was sent on May 24th, and it is the only one of the four member states that has not yet responded to the request of the Union executive. In the letter, the body presided over by Von der Leyen asked each country for more information on the legal framework involved and its interrelationship with European data protection legislation, specifically the General Data Protection Regulation and the directive on the use of data by security forces. According to the community executive, the first letters that were sent were to Hungary and Poland on February 14th, then to Spain on May 24th and the last was to Greece on July 29th. The Hungarian authorities responded on 11th May, the Polish authorities on 29th March and the Greek authorities on 2nd August. The Spanish authorities have not yet done so.
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Members assert that EC has no power
In the text, the European Commission also notes that the Hungarian authorities have argued that the use of Pegasus is part of national security and is not under European law, the same response that the Polish authorities have given. For their part, the Greek authorities point out that it is questionable that the questions of the EU executive are within the competences of the Union and they affirm that their judicial authorities are investigating the attempt to spy on an MEP. Finally, Brussels concludes the text by pointing out that it will continue to "evaluate" the relationship between the member states' legislation and that of European data protection. It also undertakes to follow the conclusions of the Eurochamber committee "closely".