EU chief can’t discover texts with Pfizer CEO — RT World Information

The European Fee downplayed the significance of the lacking messages, which had been despatched throughout Covid-19 vaccine negotiations

The European Fee stated it’s unable to find textual content messages despatched between its president, Ursula von der Leyen, and Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla throughout talks for an enormous vaccine deal final yr, however denied prior expenses of “maladministration” from an EU watchdog.

The fee issued a letter on Wednesday stating that an expanded seek for the lacking messages had “not yielded any outcomes,” following months of dispute between the EU’s govt physique and oversight officers. It argued that as a result of “short-lived and ephemeral nature” of texts, they usually “don’t comprise essential data” and are due to this fact hardly ever saved.

Whereas von der Leyen revealed in an April 2021 interview that she and Bourla privately communicated for a number of weeks whereas negotiating a contract for almost 2 billion vaccine doses, a journalist’s public data request for the texts was later shot down, with the fee claiming it couldn’t discover the messages in query. 

The denial triggered a rebuke from the European ombudsman, Emily O’Reilly, who adopted up with an investigation final yr and blasted EU officers over poor administration and an absence of transparency, saying that “no try was made to establish if any textual content messages existed.” The ombudsman then urged the fee to “search once more,” asking it to broaden its standards in a method which may truly find the information.

The fee doubled down in its newest response to O’Reilly, nonetheless, insisting it had dealt with the matter correctly and made each effort to seek out the texts. It reiterated that it doesn’t register materials that accommodates no “essential data,” and that such paperwork “usually are not stored, and, as a consequence, usually are not within the possession of the establishment.”

“The European Fee is of the opinion that it has not handled this request in a ‘slender method’ and that the search and dealing with of paperwork for the aim of public requests for entry to paperwork … is justified and follows the established follow,” it continued.

The physique added that it intends to “difficulty additional steering on fashionable communication instruments” in hopes of avoiding related mix-ups sooner or later, however nonetheless held that its actions had been “according to the relevant laws and the related case legislation on entry to paperwork.”

The workplace of the ombudsman, which revealed the fee’s letter on Wednesday, declared that the response was “problematic on a number of factors,” and famous {that a} “full evaluation” of the case would observe within the coming weeks.

The controversy over the lacking texts is just not the primary dispute concerning an absence of transparency within the EU’s vaccine dealings, because the fee was sued in April by a number of MEPs, who claimed the negotiations had been overly secretive. Although contracts had been ultimately revealed, they had been closely redacted in a method that “made it not possible to know the content material of the agreements,” the lawmakers alleged, insisting secrecy “has no place in public agreements with pharmaceutical firms.”