European Commission sued over von der Leyen's secret Pfizer texts

European Commission sued over von der Leyen's secret Pfizer texts
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. Credit: Belga/Jonas Roosens

The US newspaper The New York Times is taking the European Commission to court over the institution's failure to release text messages between President Ursula von der Leyen and Pfizer during the negotiations for Covid-19 vaccines.

In a reconstruction of the EU's purchase of Covid-19 vaccines, the US newspaper stumbled upon personal communication from von der Leyen, who allegedly negotiated the billion-dollar deal by text message with Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla.

The newspaper argues that the Commission faces a legal obligation to release the messages, which could contain information on the EU's deals to purchase billions of euros worth of Covid-19 doses. The Commission, however, said that the text messages do not fall under its transparency duty and added that it cannot retrieve them either.

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Earlier, watchdogs such as the European Ombudsman and the European Court of Auditors also denounced the secrecy the Commission continues to maintain, and the European Parliament also insists on releasing the messages.

The lawsuit at the European Court of Justice was filed 25 January and published on the European Court of Justice's public register on Monday, but no detailed information is yet available online, Politico reports. The New York Times has not yet commented on the case.

The Brussels Times has reached out to the European Commission, which did not wish to comment.

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