Belgium (Brussels Morning Newspaper) MEPs are to probe who was behind the alleged hacking of the mobile phone of the Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez.
The European Parliament’s Committee of Inquiry to investigate the use of Pegasus and equivalent surveillance spyware approved a fact-finding mission to Spain to take place on 20 and 21 March in Madrid.
The mission aims to “clarify, demand and receive” information of who was behind the hacking of the PM’s mobile phone and other members of his government.
Spanish centre-right MEP Juan Ignacio Zoido, a former judge, stated: “PM Pedro Sánchez must dispel once and for all the doubts that may have been generated around the case of spying on members of the Spanish Government and clarify his actions in the aftermath.”
“We, in the EPP Group, have no doubts about the excellent work of our security forces and our intelligence services. We are very proud of them and we know that they carry out their work in an exemplary manner, with scrupulous respect for the rule of law and with extensive judicial supervision.”
The deputy, who is the EPP Group Coordinator in this committee, went on, “However, the role of Sánchez in the management of the Pegasus espionage case has been very deficient. On one hand, because of the way he treated public servants, such as the former Director of the National Intelligence Centre, Paz Esteban, who was fired and turned into a scapegoat to please his government partners, the Catalan secessionists.”
“On the other hand, Sánchez has not collaborated with the European Parliament since the Chair of this Committee sent a questionnaire to the Spanish Government months ago, which has been completely ignored. On 29 November, the current Director of the National Intelligence Centre, Esperanza Casteleiro, appeared in front of this committee and refused to answer any of the questions asked by the MEPs.”
Meanwhile, Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Interference will on Thursday discuss allegations of corruption and how to improve the transparency of Parliament’s work.
The Special Committee on Foreign Interference (INGE2), together with the Foreign Affairs Committee and Security and Defence Subcommittee, and in association with the Delegation for relations with the Arab Peninsula and the Delegation for relations with Maghreb countries, will discuss the recent cases of foreign interference in the European Parliament.
In the resolution on suspicions of corruption by Qatar adopted on 15 December, MEPs express serious concern about alleged acts of corruption, money-laundering and participation in a criminal organisation by members, former members, and staff of the Parliament in exchange for influence over Parliament’s decisions. The resolution calls for more transparency and accountability in the European institutions.
Speakers at the hearing include Irene Fernández-Molina, Senior Lecturer in International Relations, University of Exeter; Christian Chesnot, Journalist, Radio France and Co-Author of “Qatar Papers” and Nick Aiossa, Deputy Director, Head of Policy and Advocacy, Transparency International EU.