RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – EU Ombudswoman Emily O’Reilly has accused European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen of “maladministration” and is asking her to hand over secret text messages she sent to Pfizer’s CEO during actions to buy 1.8 billion Covid injections.
The request stems from a Freedom of Information request filed by a reporter.
PFIZER IS LARGEST VACCINE SUPPLIER IN THE EU
Last April, The New York Times revealed that the EU chief and Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla had exchanged text messages and phone calls about buying vaccines for EU countries.
Ursula von der Leyen, who has advocated mandatory vaccination in the EU, used “personal diplomacy” to finalize the deal for 1.8 billion Pfizer vaccines, the newspaper said.
Journalist Alexander Fanta of the news website netzpolitik.org later asked the commission for access to the text messages and other documents, but the executive did not provide them.
More than half of the 4.2 billion doses the commission bought or optioned came from BioNTech-Pfizer, by far the largest supplier to the EU’s vaccine effort.
COMMISSION OUT OF TOUCH WITH EUROPEAN DEMOCRACY
The commission, citing trade secrecy, refuses to disclose key aspects of its contracts with Covid vaccine suppliers, including pricing.
“This case is more important than a simple exchange of text messages,” said Dutch MEP Sophie in’t Veld (Renew Europe).
“The European Commission has become less transparent, less accountable to the European Parliament, and frankly more disconnected from European democracy,” she denounced, calling on the European Parliament to respond.
Green MEP Daniel Freund also calls for a contemporary approach to messages via Messenger. “It’s the case today that people are governing by Signal, WhatsApp, and Slack.” Accordingly, these messages should be covered by freedom of information – or the use of SMS and messengers for official communication should be banned, says the MEP and former Transparency International, expert.
MEPs WARN THAT UNDER VON DER LEYEN EU IS CHANGING FROM A DEMOCRACY TO A TYRANNY
European members of parliament (MEPs) warned in a press conference that more and more EU countries are turning away from democracy, trampling on the fundamental EU civil rights guaranteed in the EU treaty, and violating human rights. Democracy, freedom, and peace are no longer guaranteed in the EU.