The EU’s Stance on the Wiretapping Scandal in Greece

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In August 2022, it was revealed that Nikos Androulakis, the leader of the opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) party in Greece, was wiretapped by the Greece’s National Intelligence Agency (EYP). This has been a development that has put Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in an extremely difficult position. Following the scandal, EYP Director Panagiotis Kontoleon resigned, while the opposition increased its pressure on the Prime Minister.

Moreover, the fact that Androulakis is a member of the European Parliament (EP) has led the EP to pay close attention to this scandal. In this context, the EP, unlike the senior management of the European Union (EU), has attached importance to this scandal from the very first day and has addressed the issue.

All political parties in the EP, with the exception of the European People’s Party (EPP), of which European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is a member, have condemned the scandal. The New Democracy Party (ND), led by Greek Prime Minister Mitsotakis, is a member of the EPP. In addition, the EPP is the political party with the most deputies in the EP. This indicates that the Mitsotakis Government is in a sense protected by the people who make up the EU senior management.

Despite all this, the Socialists and Democrats, the second largest political group in the EP, criticized the scandal and emphasized the need for political change in Greece. In fact, they have drawn a parallel between the scandal  and the Watergate Scandal that took place in the United States (US) during  Richard Nixon era.[1]

The EP decided to establish a committee, called PEGA, to investigate the wiretapping scandal in Greece. On October 3, 2022, EP Vice-President Dimitris Papadimoulis stated that the initiatives of the Athens administration and Mitsotakis would not yield results in Brussels.[2] At this point, Papadimoulis’ words need to be emphasized. Papadimoulis is a member of Greece’s main opposition party, the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA). With the above remarks, the EP Vice-President implicitly drew attention to Mitsotakis’ ties with the EU senior management and said that the Greek leader’s initiatives would not yield results. Therefore, it is seen that SYRIZA has the opportunity to put pressure on Mitsotakis through both domestic and foreign politics.

In accordance with the EP’s decision, the PEGA committee visited Greece and the Greek Cypriot Administration of South Cyprus (GCA) on 1-4 November 2022 to examine the situation regarding the alleged use of surveillance spyware, and in particular the Israeli Predator.[3] The investigations carried out by the committee have also brought the issue to the agenda of the EP. In the briefing prepared in accordance with the request of the EP, it was stated that journalists and politicians have been wiretapped by the EYP on the occasion of the “predator” software for a long time.[4] EP Rapporteur In t’ Veld stressed that the wiretaps that took place in Greece were carried out systematically and were part of a political strategy. On the other hand, Veld also stated that the GCA has become the centre for the export of surveillance software.[5]

As can be understood, institutionally, stance of the EP on the wiretapping scandal in Greece is different from that of the EU senior management. The EP directly blames Mitsotakis for the wiretaps and believes that the wiretaps were conducted in a systematic manner. The EP’s investigation into this scandal may have consequences that will put the Greek Prime Minister in a difficult position. However, this will not happen until important people in the EU senior management take action.

Another example of the disagreement within the EP over the scandal is that Georgios Kyrtsos, a member of the Renew Europe Party, the third largest party in the EP, accused EPP leader Manfred Weber of protecting Mitsotakis.[6] Therefore, it is seen that other parties within the EP have raised their voices against the stance of the EPP, of which Leyen is also a member, on the wiretapping scandal. This is extremely important in terms of showing that there are deep disagreements in the EP about the scandal. Therefore, it can be said that Mitsotakis is protected by both the largest group of the EP and the people in the senior management of the EU.

Consequently, it is seen that voices have been raised recently within the EP regarding the wiretapping scandal in Greece. The stance of the EPP and the EU senior management in support of Mitsotakis is decisive in this. However, the fact that the Greek Prime Minister has strong support within the EU relieves his hand in the face of the scandal. Although the EP reveals information that may put Mitsotakis in a difficult situation, it is possible to say that the attitude of the “main decision-making mechanism of the EU” will be more decisive. In this respect, the Greek Prime Minister has the support of both Leyen and the President of the European Council, Charles Michel. Therefore, the EP’s stance towards the scandal in Greece may put Mitsotakis in a difficult position, but there is no collective EU pressure.

[1] Sarantis Michalopoulos, “EU Socialist Chief: Greece Needs Political Change After ‘Watergate’ Scandal”, Euractiv,, (Date of Accession:15.11.2022).

[2] Sofia Mandilara, “EP PEGA Committee to Investigate Greek Spyware Scandal on the Ground”, Euractiv,, (Date of Accession:15.11.2022).

[3] “PEGA Committee to Investigate Spyware Surveillance in Greece, Cyprus”, Keep Talking Greece,, (Date of Accession:15.11.2022).

[4] “Briefing for the PEGA mission to Cyprus and Greece-1-4 November 2022”  , Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs, European Parliament,, (Date of Accession:15.11.2022).

[5] Selen Temizer, “AP: Yunanistan’daki Dinlemeler Sistematik, Geniş Ölçekli ve Siyasi Stratejinin Parçası”, Anadolu Agency,, (Date of Accession:15.11.2022).

[6] “MEP: Weber White-Washes Greek PM in Wiretapping Scandal [VIDEO]”, Euractiv,, (Date of Accession:15.11.2022).

Cemal Ege ÖZKAN
Cemal Ege Özkan, 2019 yılında Ankara Üniversitesi Dil ve Tarih-Coğrafya Fakültesi Tarih Bölümü’nden mezun olmuştur. Yüksek lisans derecesini, 2022 senesinde aynı üniversitenin Türk İnkılap Tarihi Enstitüsü Atatürk İlkeleri ve İnkılap Tarihi Anabilim Dalı’nda hazırladığı “Türk Siyasi Hayatında Selim Rauf Sarper ve Faaliyetleri” başlıklı teziyle almıştır. Hâlihazırda aynı enstitüde doktora eğitimine devam etmektedir. 2020-2021 yılları arasında Türk Tarih Kurumu Yüksek Lisans Bursiyeri olan Özkan, iyi derecede İngilizce bilmektedir.