Spanish national-conservative party VOX this week accused Brussels of politicising an internal security matter when MEPs arrived to investigate the use of Pegasus spyware.
Since 2016, various governments have been embroiled in a scandal involving phone tapping using the Israeli-designed spyware. The scandal expanded to Spain after it was revealed that the spyware had been used against government officials, including Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and multiple Catalan separatists.
In May 2022, the Spanish government admitted that Pegasus spyware had been used against 65 Catalan separatists, with a growing indication that Morocco intelligence services had separately targeted Spanish government figures.
This revelation fueled an already bitter dispute over the failed 2017 Catalan referendum, with accusations that elements of the Spanish security state were running an illegal surveillance operation against separatists.
The delegation’s chief rapporteur is progressive Dutch MEP Sophie in ‘t Veld, who has featured heavily in rule-of-law committees directed against Greece and Hungary.
The Polish, Greek, and Hungarian governments have similarly been accused of using Pegasus spyware against opponents by the EU. Hungarian Justice Minister Judit Varga boycotted a similar visit in February, declaring the committee an instrument for the European Left and George Soros.
Speaking to The European Conservative, Alonso de Mendoza, a spokesman for VOX, outlined his party’s long-standing opposition to the committee, seeing it as a way to assist separatists and subvert Spanish institutions.
This mission is based on alleged reports from an organization called Citizen Lab, which is financed and promoted by Catalan separatism. This mission is interference in the actions of our police, our Civil Guard, prosecutors, and judges in the fight against the separatist coup attempt in 2017.
De Mendoza claimed the itinerary of the EU delegation was biassed, adding that Brussels was overstepping its remit by interfering in the national security of a member state.