The European Ombudsman has asked EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to explain how she lost the text messages she had exchanged with Pfizer’s CEO during the EU’s vaccine procurement talks.
The European Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly, the EU’s chief accountability and governance officer, has launched an investigation into the European Commission’s refusal to reveal the content of communications between von der Leyen and the CEO of an unnamed pharmaceutical company.
O’Reilly requested the Commission to release the text messages, but according to the Commission, “no record of such messages was kept”.
O’Reilly asked the Commission to explain its policy regarding von der Leyen’s lost text messages. “The commission has an obligation to record instant messages relating to important political matters, such as the procurement of Covid-19 vaccines,” her office said in a statement.
In April, the New York Times reported that von der Leyen had spent a month exchanging texts and calls with Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla as part of negotiations to procure vaccines for the EU. The newspaper cited “personal diplomacy” as having contributed largely in securing the vaccines.
“The EU administration is obliged under EU law to draw up and keep documentation of its activities, as much as possible and in a non-arbitrary and predictable manner,” the Ombudsman said in June.
Von der Leyen has also been a tireless vaccine pusher.