BRUSSELS, BELGIUM — The New York Times is suing European Union Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in order to get hold of text messages she exchanged with Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla, Politico reports.
The newspaper argues that the EU Commission is legally obligated to release the messages. Now, the matter will be decided by the European Court of Justice. No other detailed information is available, according to Politico.
It has previously been reported that von der Leyen took it upon herself to negotiate a billion-dollar COVID vaccine deal with Bourla via text messages.
Journalist Alexander Fanta of German digital freedom journal Netzpolitik requested the messages in accordance with the European Union’s freedom of information policies – but was denied. This led to the European Ombudsman accusing the Commission of “maladministration.” According to Fanta, it is beyond any doubt that the messages must be released due to applicable law.
European Parliament Member Christian Terhes has been a vocal critic of von der Leyen, demanding that she resign and be investigated.
According to EU auditors, von der Leyen unilaterally negotiated and approved contracts worth over $70 billion dollars for the purchasing of COVID-19 vaccines. Terhes has shown that the contracts are heavily redacted, with entire pages blacked out.
The European Public Prosecutor’s office is currently investigating alleged corruption in connection with the EU’s COVID-19 vaccine procurement.