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EU Ombudsman: Von der Leyen breaks rules by hiding texts to Pfizer

EU Ombudsman: Von der Leyen breaks rules by hiding texts to Pfizer

O’Reilly was sharp in her conclusions, in part because it was a matter of principle according to her. The Commission considers that text messages sent by telephone by definition do not fall under the European Public Information Act (Eurowob). According to the ombudsman, this is nonsense and the obligation to disclose depends on the content of the information, and not on the manner in which it was transmitted.

Ironically, it was von der Leyen himself in an interview with. In April 2021 New York times I mentioned text messages with the CEO of Pfizer. At the time, the Commission was negotiating a contract with Pfizer to buy 1.8 billion coronavirus vaccines for European Union countries.

The journalist who later asked the commission for access to that text message did not receive it. The commission sent an email, letter, and press release regarding the case, but not text messages. Later, the commission stated that due to their “volatile nature”, the text messages did not contain important information and therefore did not need to be made public.

O’Reilly rejects this argument. “If the text messages are about EU policies and decisions, they should be considered documents,” and thus fall under Eurowob. It’s also clearing the floor for the panel’s claim that text messages with the Pfizer CEO were not traced. According to O’Reilly, the commission never targeted von der Leyen’s text messages.

“It is not necessary to keep all text messages, but text messages are subject to EU disclosure laws, and important messages must be stored,” the ombudsman said. She invites the Committee to look for the relevant text messages after all and then consider whether they should be made public.

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