2 min Security

European Parliament want to intervene in Greek wiretapping scandal

European Parliament want to intervene in Greek wiretapping scandal

Greece’s government wants the European Commission to stay out of a national wiretapping scandal, but several members of the European Parliament (MEPs) oppose the request.

Greece’s spying outrage escalated intensely on the 5th of August. It all started when two senior officials belonging to Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’s center-right administration resigned after spyware surfaced on MEP Nikos Androulakis’ phone. Androulakis is the center-left Pasok party’s head. Despite the Mitsotakis’ government confession, the wiretapping was, in fact, performed legally through a spy service. The reason behind it remains a mystery.

Earlier, Greece happily agreed to pair with Brussels in resolving the scandal but overlooked the fact that this move may clear the passage for the EU to interfere. In response to the European Commission’s letter, Greece’s representative Ioannis Vrailas labeled the entire scenario as “highly debatable”. He further questioned the integrity of Brussels’ competencies and criticized the Commission was being naïve on national security issues.

Publication of Ioannis Vrailas letter

After the letter’s publication on August 24th, MEP Sophie in ‘t Veld tweeted that the Greek spyware scandal was “very much an EU competence” and breached the EU laws of GDPR and flagship privacy regulation.

“We received the reply from the Greek authorities and are looking into it”, Brussels responded. “The Commission is gathering information concerning the reported use of spyware, such as Pegasus/Predator, and the possible interplay between EU data protection rules and the national security framework. We will continue to follow this issue very closely.”

EU officials closely monitor the Greek saga and investigate the use of Pegasus software, which was used in previous scandals. Numerous officials refuse to provide details on the EU executive plans. Brussels is in a challenging situation, looking for better means of protecting security and intelligence services at the national level without violating fundamental rights.

Although implementing spyware can be a legal government practice, asking the EU to stay out of the matter, is considered a security threat by EU lawmakers in this case.

“This to me is completely unacceptable because democracy and the rule of law are at stake”, Belgian MEP Saskia Bricmont said. Spanish MEP Jordi Solé also agrees that spying scandals aren’t only a matter of national security, but a matter of elected politicians’ fundamental rights.