EFA demands a deep investigation into the Catalan Gate revelations

At least 65 Catalan pro-independence leaders have been victims of cyber-espionage, including EFA Secretary-General and MEP, Jordi Solé, and Diana Riba MEP

MEP Diana Riba has been elected second Vice-Chair of the newly created Pegasus Inquiry Committee in the European Parliament

The European Free Alliance urges the European institutions to deeply conduct an in-depth investigation into the “Catalan Gate” revelations to determine who is responsible for of this violation of fundamental civil rights. The information on this case, published by the interdisciplinary laboratory of the University of Toronto, Citizen Lab, proves that at least 65 Catalan pro-independence politicians, lawyers, and journalists were victims of cyber espionage using Pegasus and Candiru spyware. The surveillance also affected their families and relatives.

The list of targeted leaders includes EFA’s Secretary-General and MEP, Jordi Solé, and Diana Riba MEP. The study also suggests that the Spanish authorities could have been involved with these operations. If confirmed, this would represent a violation of fundamental civil rights by an EU member state, using spyware tools not for security but for political reasons, an alarming democratic anomaly within the Union. “Spying on political competitors is absolutely unacceptable. The revelations shed a harsh light on the unscrupulous use of surveillance technology in violation of fundamental rights”, affirmed Mr Jordi Solé.

A threat to European democracy

The Catalan Gate case represents the largest incidence of illegal cyberespionage ever verified in the EU, but not the first identified. The abuse of spyware tools to target citizens and political opponents has been reported before in other European countries such as Hungary or Poland. This is therefore an issue that affects and threatens Europe and European democracy, and which must be taken seriously by European institutions. The emergence of these revelations in countries with such different circumstances in the EU indicates how widespread the issue has become.

For these reasons, EFA welcomes the creation of the Pegasus Inquiry Committee today, which will investigate the use of Pegasus and equivalent surveillance spyware to combat its abuse for political purposes. EFA MEP Diana Riba has been elected second Vice-Chair of this newly created Committee shortly after being confirmed to have been a target of this recently published case. “We are all victims of the largest case of illegal cyberespionage ever verified. We will get to the bottom of it all and make clear this can have no place in a democratic EU”, stated Ms Riba.