From top: European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is accused of keeping secret text messages with Pfizer’s CEO; EU Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly
An official EU watchdog has slammed Ursula von der Leyen for keeping secret text messages with Pfizer’s CEO about purchasing Covid vaccine doses, saying it ‘constituted maladministration’.
The EU ombudsman, Emily O’Reilly, issued a formal recommendation telling von der Leyen’s office to search for and hand over the texts under a freedom of information request lodged by a journalist.
In April last year, the New York Times revealed that EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla had exchanged text messages and calls about vaccine procurements for EU countries.
The European Commission chief used ‘personal diplomacy’ to secure the deal for 1.8billion Pfizer vaccines via texts with the CEO, the paper revealed.
Journalist Alexander Fanta of news site netzpolitik.org then asked the Commission for access to the text messages and other documents, but the executive branch did not provide them.