The European parliament will launch a committee of inquiry into the use of surveillance software in the EU today.
The inquiry comes amid concerns around the use of the NSO Group’s Pegasus, a software which allows almost unrestricted access to communications devices. The committee will investigate alleged uses of the software–largely by the governments of Hungary and Poland–and determine whether it constitutes a breach of EU law. These investigations form part of a larger dispute on the supremacy of EU law against national sovereignty between the EU and the two states.
While both Hungary and Poland have largely protected each other from punitive measures within the EU, the two have recently split on the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The head of Poland’s leading Law and Justice party Jaroslaw Kaczynski recently declared cooperation was no longer possible unless Hungary took a more pro-Ukraine stance to the conflict. Hungary is unlikely to change course given the close relationship between Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Russian President Vladimir Putin. With Polish-Hungarian cooperation largely at an end, expect the EU to loosen criticisms of Poland and focus on isolating Hungary–potentially forcing it into concessions including judicial reform.
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Cian is a Research Analyst and contributes to both Analysis and the Daily Brief. He specializes in Australian and European geopolitics with a particular interest in the strategic autonomy of the EU.