Neither Pedro Sánchez nor one of his ministers, despite this being sought by some of the MEPs who are travelling to Madrid next week as part of the European Parliament's Pegasus committee. The Spanish government has decided to limit its executive participation in the mission on spyware use to second-rank officials. The meeting will be with the Secretary of State for European Affairs, Pascual Navarro, non-elected undersecretary who is responsible for managing Spain's relations with the European Parliament. This is what has emerged from another update of the agenda this Friday afternoon, which has also incorporated a Vox deputy into the contingent from the Catalan Parliament's Catalangate committee, and has confirmed the attendance of both the senior Catalan Republican Left (ERC) politician Ernest Maragall and the director of the NGO Rights International Spain. Parliamentary sources do not rule out that, during the weekend, there will be more news.
- CatalanGate revealed: a major operation spying on pro-independence Catalans
- All our stories on the Catalangate affair and Pegasus spyware use in or by Spain
With this move, the Moncloa government palace in Madrid further reduces the political importance it attributes to the committee from the European chamber, which lands on Monday 20th, a public holiday in Madrid, and leaves the following afternoon. According to the agenda, the meeting with the Secretary of State for European Affairs will be on Monday afternoon at the headquarters of the Spanish foreign ministry. In fact, sources consulted by El Nacional.cat on Thursday already stressed that the Spanish government was emphasizing the judicial process of the case rather than its political side. "We are talking about a judicial matter, not a political one, which is in the process of investigation", said the sources referring to the investigation opened at the National Audience court over the hacking of the mobile phones of Pedro Sánchez and two of his ministers, in a case clearly separate from the large-scale Catalangate affair. Be that as it may, the Spanish PM and the ministers, both as members of the executive and victims of espionage, will ignore the eleven MEPs, claiming that everything is under judicial investigation.
In the update of the agenda made this Friday afternoon, the Catalan MP from far-right Vox, Alberto Tarradas, has also been added to the Catalan Parliament committee of Catalangate, which has arranged a meeting with the MEPs on Monday at 3pm. With him will be nine deputies from the Catalan chamber, from the Catalan Socialists, ERC, Together for Catalonia, the CUP and En Comú Podem. Apart from this, ERC's Ernest Maragall will be added to the meeting with victims of the espionage, confirmed with the president of Catalonia, Pere Aragonès, and the Catalan foreign minister, Meritxell Serret. During the first day, the director of Rights International Spain, Patricia Goicoechea, will also be part of the already-announced meeting with Amnesty International, with the participation of the right-wing think-tank Fundación Civismo to be confirmed.
The planned agenda, which is still subject to change, also includes an interview on Monday with three journalists from the Madrid press, Miguel González (El País), Juanma Lamet (El Mundo) and Javier Chicote (ABC), and another with the director of the Security and Justice area of the Spanish Ombudsman's office, Andrés Jiménez. The committee's itinerary, which will also pass through the Congress of Deputies, will end on Tuesday afternoon with a press conference from the headquarters in Madrid of the Office of the European Parliament.