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EU Commision Vice Dombrovskis slams Greek gov’t over spyware scandal

EU Commission Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis slammed on Tuesday the Greek government over the use of spyware against citizens while simultaneously revealing that the executive is still waiting for an explanation about the export licenses of Predator spyware to Sudan and Madagascar.

“This kind of spying on fellow citizens and political opponents clearly should not take place. Spyware should be used for its legitimate uses other than law enforcement and security,” Dombrovskis said at the European Parliament’s PEGA committee, which closely follows the use of spyware across the bloc.

Dombrovskis even invoked his origins in Latvia, a former member of the Soviet Union, to emphasise that he knows “what it means for a regime to monitor its citizens”.

The Commission’s vice-president also revealed that on 14 February, the EU executive asked Athens to provide “clarifications” over reports suggesting that the government exported licenses of illegal Predator spyware to Sudan and Madagascar.

He said the conservative Greek government has so far not responded.

The so-called “Greek Watergate” has been shaking Greek politics for months, raising eyebrows in Brussels.

The government says it never purchased the Predator spyware, and surveillance activities were carried out as part of the legal channels of secret services.

The opposition parties and the PEGA committee insist that there was a parallel usage of Predator and “legal” surveillance.

The PEGA committee’s report on using spyware in Greece will be made public at the end of April ahead of the 21 May national elections.

Manfred Weber, the chief of the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP), to which the ruling New Democracy belongs, has so far remained silent.

Opposition Syriza MEP Stelios Kouloglou commented that most EPP EU lawmakers would “heave a sigh of relief” if Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis loses the elections.

“Until now, these MEPs were in a very difficult position. They should defend the sister party but also their dignity. This was a very difficult balance with the policies of the New Democracy government,” Kouloglou commented.


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