Early this year, the Commission announced it will buy 1.8 billion additional Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine doses. This made Pfizer the EU’s most important vendor. The deal was clinched via calls and text messages between the company’s CEO and the president of the European Commission.
Left group Co-President Manon Aubry is seeking to put on the agenda of the next European Parliament plenary session an oral question to the Commission to ask Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to explain the disappearance and non-disclosure of the text messages exchanged with the CEO of Pfizer.
“Transparency and ethics are not options. European citizens have the right to know how public money is being used and under what conditions”, Aubry says.
The Left therefore calls on the heads of the other political groups in the European Parliament – who are expected to decide in the ‘Conference of Presidents’ on Wednesday – to take their responsibility to defend transparency and ethics in the European institutions.
It is not the first time that Commission President von der Leyen has been accused of laxity with regard to text messages and transparency. The so-called “consultant affair” concerned the illegal awarding of consultancy contracts worth millions by the German Ministry of Defence. The then Defence Minister von der Leyen refused to disclose her text messages during the investigation.
At the end of 2019, it then came to light that one of von der Leyen’s mobile phones had already been routinely wiped by the ministry’s IT department in the summer of 2019 – although the committee had already submitted a request for evidence to examine the text messages at that time. A back-up was not created.