There are indications of illicit exports of malicious software from Cyprus, Greece, Bulgaria and possibly other countries, the rapporteur of the report of the European Parliament (EP) committee of inquiry investigating the use of the Pegasus software and the corresponding spyware surveillance software (PEGA), Sophie in ‘t Veld (Renew Europe, Netherlands), said on Tuesday during a press conference, in Strasbourg.
At the press conference, an update on the outcome of the votes and the report was given by the President of the Committee, Jeroen Lenaers (EPP, Netherlands), followed by a presentation of the report by rapporteur Sophie in’t Veld.
Asked by a journalist whether there is evidence that Cyprus is a hub for the use and export of illegal surveillance software, in’t Veld replied negatively, explaining that none of the authorities of the states involved are cooperating to provide data.
“But there are more than sufficient indications for illicit exports taking place from Cyprus, from Greece, from Bulgaria, and possibly also from other countries”, she said.
Responding to that there was no hard evidence, the MEP stressed that the European Commission is the competent authority to investigate as it is responsible for the enforcement, correct and full implementation of EU legislation.
She called on the European Commission to take responsibility, saying that the European Commission has asked for clarifications from the authorities in Cyprus, Greece and France but the answer they get is that “everything is fine here. There is nothing to see.” This is not enough, she said.
Asked by CNA about the consequences for Cyprus if it does not follow the recommendations, she said that this is not in the hands of the Parliament, but of the Commission and the Council. She said that MEPs will continue to put pressure on the Commission, the Council, the Member States, and will also continue to provide support to those, whether it is the media or independent agencies, who are conducting their own investigations.
She also stressed that if all checks and balances are eliminated then there is no more democracy and noted that she was very concerned about democracy in Europe.
Lenaers referred to the 14-month effort, the findings and the recommendations adopted on Monday, underlining that he expects the European Commission to respond without delay to the recommendations.
The final text of the report is expected to be put to vote in the next session of the Parliament plenary.