ATHENS – A Member of the European Parliament from Greece’s major opposition SYRIZA – his party stepping up assaults with elections coming in the spring,- said Prime Minister Kyriakos’s government is running a spy state similar to the East German Stasi during the Cold War.
Stelios Kouloglou told The Brussels Times, “Greece is now referred to in the same breath as Hungary and Poland. If we continue on this path we might face sanctions. For this situation, New Democracy is completely responsible.”
That was a reference to Greece’s National Intelligence Service EYP admitting bugging the phones of 15,475 people – including government ministers, journalists and businesspeople.
The issue is before the European Parliament after Greece’s Parliament, controlled by a majority of government lawmakers, had a committee investigate and declare its work secret and anyone revealing details threatened with prosecution.
A European Parliament committee, dubbed PEGA as it looks into the use of Pegasus spyware in the bloc, visited Greece but got no co-operation, said there was evidence of Predator spyware in use, but the government denied being behind it.
Kouloglou, a former journalist, likened Greece’s political surveillance to that in “Communist East Germany and the Stasi,” the newspaper said, referring to the deep spy state during those times in which citizens were constantly surveilled.
He said that tracking citizens – which EYP and Mitsotakis said was in the national interest and the reasons wouldn’t be revealed – “deprives a person of the ability to act without being already compromised. It is against democracy and European values. The EU must act swiftly against spyware.”
EU lawmakers debated it under “the erosion of the rule of law in Greece,” the newspaper said, the issue turning partisan with SYRIZA assailing New Democracy in a bid to return to power after being ousted in July, 2019 elections.
New Democracy MEP Eliza Vozemberg on Twitter accused SYRIZA and its leader, and former premier, Alexis Tsipras, of “defaming Greece abroad” by provoking a debate in the European Parliament.
Vozemberg said EU lawmakers from other countries should mind their own business about Greece, complaining that they are “interfering in the election period” and dismissing their claims as “unsubstantiated.”