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Wednesday, 4 May 2022 - Strasbourg Provisional edition

Use of the Pegasus Software by EU Member States against individuals including MEPs and the violation of fundamental rights (topical debate)

  Henna Virkkunen (PPE). – Mr President, dear colleagues, the Russian attack on Ukraine has profoundly highlighted the importance of democratic values and freedom of expression in society. In a society based on the rule of law, the freedom of expression is a cornerstone. For a functioning democracy, it’s essential that those holding power can be scrutinised and criticised for their actions.

The media has a key role in this. It is the watchdog of democracy. Media freedom is essential for democracy to succeed. The Pegasus spyware cases are concerning examples of illegal, targeted surveillance. It’s extremely important that we recognise such matters of illegal surveillance that are increasingly used, as they have significant effects on the right to privacy.

The revealed Pegasus illegal surveillance cases are not only devastating on the victims, but they also affect the development of democracy and the rule of law. The misuse of spyware against journalists, defenders of human rights and the opposition affects everybody who wants to critically examine their government, protect democracy and the rule of law. They are cyberattacks against democracy and violate the fundamental values of the European Union.

We must not stand by and watch such violations of democracy emerge, but take action against illegal surveillance, support the victims of such cases, and protect our fundamental rights.

Last updated: 18 May 2022Legal notice - Privacy policy