Rule of law in Greece under serious threat from spyware abuse
Today in a plenary debate of the European Parliament, Renew Europe called on Greek Prime Minister Mitsotakis to halt the rule of law backsliding in the country. The Mitsotakis Government's illegal wiretapping of the opposition and targeting of journalists is a threat to democracy. There is an urgent need for legal safeguards against abusive spyware, and swift action to restore a healthy media environment. The Government's murky deals with spyware vendors have very little to do with national security. Independent journalists and critics are essential for democracy.
Further, the latest ruling from the Greek Chief Prosecutor stating that the independent authority in charge of privacy issues (ADAE) is no longer allowed to conduct telecommunication audits to find out who is or has been under surveillance by the National Intelligence Service is deeply alarming. Renew Europe wants an immediate end to these and other attempts to intervene and hinder independent oversight of digital wiretapping. Prime Minister Mitsotakis must ensure that the authorities can freely investigate all the allegations.
Renew Europe MEP Georgios Kyrtsos (Greece), a former member of the governing party New Democracy that was expelled after criticising Mitsotakis on the rule of law and also put under surveillance by the Government, said:
“It is a worrying path that the Mitsotakis Government is on. My phones were wiretapped for a period of 18 months after being designated as a threat to national security. The new legislation voted by Mitsotakis even denied me the right to know why I am threat to national security for at least a period of 3 years. I am shocked by the EPP’s absence in this effort to defend the European rule of law. I was wiretapped by Mitsotakis even during the period when I was an EPP MEP! This is not a personal issue. We have to defend European values and the rule of law before it is too late. Otherwise, good night Europe and good luck.”
Róża Thun und Hohenstein (Polska2050, Poland), Renew Europe’s Coordinator on the Committee of Inquiry to investigate the use of Pegasus and equivalent surveillance spyware, said:
“Neither in Greece nor anywhere else can there be fully free elections if the media cannot run unhindered and critics of the government are illegally tracked by the spyware like Pegasus or Predator. We have examples of this in Poland, and we are therefore watching with concern the practices of the government in Greece. Democracy must not be destroyed anywhere in the EU!”