Brussels, 19 April 2022
The new committee is tasked with investigating the use of Pegasus software and other equivalent spyware, and held its constitutive meeting on 19 April. Members elected the following MEPs to lead the committee’s work:
- Chair: Jeroen Lenaers (EPP, NL)
- First Vice-Chair: Sándor Rónai (S&D, HU)
- Second Vice-Chair: Diana Riba i Giner (Greens/EFA, ES)
- Third Vice-Chair: Moritz Körner (Renew, DE)
In this first meeting, MEPs also heard from experts who outlined their research into Pegasus and other equivalent spyware:
- Forbidden Stories: Laurent Richard & Sandrine Rigaud
- Citizen Lab: John Scott-Railton & Bill Marczak
- Amnesty International: Donncha Ó Cearbhail & Likhita Banerji
You can re-watch the meeting on the Parliament’s multimedia centre.
Newly-elected committee chair Jeroen Lenaers (EPP, NL) said: “We have seen many cases where innocent people such as journalists and lawyers have been targeted by spyware, and this is a huge problem for democracy and the rule of law. We will now gather information about the use of Pegasus and other equivalent software, and channel these findings into useful recommendations.”
Following the alleged use of the Pegasus surveillance spyware against journalists, politicians, law enforcement officials, diplomats, lawyers, business people, civil society actors and other citizens, the European Parliament decided in March to establish a new committee of inquiry to investigate the use of Pegasus and other surveillance spyware, and whether this use has breached EU law and fundamental rights. The Committee is scheduled to submit a final report after 12 months.
Renew Europe: Fresh spyware allegations show need for thorough Pegasus investigation
April 19, 2022
Today, the European Parliament started its essential work to investigate the abuse of Pegasus Spyware by EU Governments.
In light of fresh allegations of the use of surveillance tools against citizens, journalists and politicians, the importance and urgency of the new Pegasus Inquiry Committee (PEGA), initiated by Renew Europe, is greater than ever.
We are pleased that our political group has secured some key positions. Moritz Körner (FDP, Germany) was today elected as third Vice President and Sophie in ‘t Veld (D66, Netherlands) is expected to be appointed as rapporteur to draft the PEGA report. The report will investigate whether the use of spyware has breached EU law and fundamental rights and is expected to adopt the final report in 12 months.
Sophie in ‘t Veld, said: “The gravity of the Pegasus scandal cannot be overstated. When governments target individuals for political purposes, then that runs against every democratic and lawful instinct I have. We have strong indications that journalists, activists, and democratic opposition members have been targeted. The targeting of European Commissioners, possibly by governments in the EU, is exacerbating the already grave situation. We need to get to the bottom of this.”
Moritz Körner, added: “Surveillance spyware can endanger fundamental rights and destabilise democracies. Optimally, the work of this inquiry committee should be the first step towards regulating the international sale and use of spyware technology and establishing legally binding no-spying-agreements for the public and private sector among friendly democracies.”
Greens/EFA demand immediate investigation and a halt to the use of surveillance spyware
The latest Pegasus revelations exposed how Greens/EFA Group members Diana Riba i Giner and Jordi Solé were spied on by the NSO Group’s surveillance spyware technology. Today (from 15:45), the European Parliament’s Committee of Inquiry to investigate the use of the Pegasus and equivalent surveillance spyware will start its work.
Philippe Lamberts, President of the Greens/EFA Group in the European Parliament, comments:
“We Greens/EFA strongly condemn the spying on our group member Diana Riba i Giner and all other politicians, as well as journalists, activists and lawyers. We call for an immediate halt to the use of surveillance spyware.”
Jordi Solé, EFA President and First Vice-President of the Greens/EFA Group, comments:
“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. We Greens/EFA will work to ensure that the European Parliament fully investigates this attack on fundamental rights.”
There will be a press conference on the latest revelations, with Diana Riba i Giner and Hannah Neumann today (Tuesday, April 19) at 15:00 in the European Parliament, Anna Politkovskaya press room and online via Interactio.