EU states deliberately stall MEPs probing Israeli Pegasus spyware
Members of the European Parliament probing Israeli Pegasus spyware hope that the Spanish authorities will cooperate with them in their probe against Israeli Pegasus spyware, unlike other EU countries.
Members of the European Parliament probing the use of Israeli Pegasus spyware by EU states are expected to visit Spain next week amid brewing resentment with member states and the European Commission.
"I sincerely hope that we can count on full cooperation with the Spanish authorities, unlike what we received in our previous missions," Belgian Green MEP Saskia Bricmont said.
This comes as discontent grows among MEPs on the Pega committee, which was formed in the aftermath of a wiretapping scandal in which Israeli spyware Pegasus was used to target opposition politicians, attorneys, prosecutors, journalists, and others.
Yet, a handful of EU member states have flatly refused to cooperate with the committee. National authorities in Poland, for example, declined to even meet with them.
The committee's chair, Dutch center-right MEP Jeroen Lenaers, accused both the commission and member states of delaying tactics and obfuscation earlier this week on the plenary floor in Strasbourg.
Meanwhile, the European Commission claims it has no jurisdiction over national security issues and that individuals should seek justice in court.
However, Lenaers pointed out that the panel is criticizing Poland for its lack of judicial independence while asking "Polish victims of Pegasus to turn to the same court system to receive justice."
"It doesn't make sense," he tersely stated.
He noted that the commission has failed to take the threat posed by Israeli spyware seriously and is failing to carry out its responsibilities as the treaty's protector.
Dutch liberal Sophie In't Veld, the MEP preparing the committee's final report, accused the commission and the Council of being an accomplice and "guilty of defending a very sick system."
"Not only do they refuse to cooperate, but they're also actually actively seeking to silence the European Parliament," she said.
In't Veld said the commission knows that EU states are breaking the rules but still refuses to launch any infringements despite gross violations of fundamental rights.
According to the committee, questionnaires given to EU member states eight months ago went unanswered. The questions are related to regulations governing the use of Israeli spyware, its authorization, and supervision.
The Czech Republic, Denmark, Italy, Malta, and the Netherlands have similarly provided no information to the committee.
On its account, the European Commission claims that it does cooperate with the committee.
It is worth noting that the Israeli-led spyware industry has been embroiled in a seemingly never-ending spate of extremely prominent controversies. Revelations that it sells its spyware to authoritarian regimes, that its products have been used to spy on journalists, activists, politicians, and even potentially world leaders, and accusations that it played a role in murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi's death have put it at the center of international criticism.