AIRLINK 74.00 Decreased By ▼ -0.25 (-0.34%)
BOP 5.14 Increased By ▲ 0.09 (1.78%)
CNERGY 4.55 Increased By ▲ 0.13 (2.94%)
DFML 37.15 Increased By ▲ 1.31 (3.66%)
DGKC 89.90 Increased By ▲ 1.90 (2.16%)
FCCL 22.40 Increased By ▲ 0.20 (0.9%)
FFBL 33.03 Increased By ▲ 0.31 (0.95%)
FFL 9.75 Decreased By ▼ -0.04 (-0.41%)
GGL 10.75 Decreased By ▼ -0.05 (-0.46%)
HBL 115.50 Decreased By ▼ -0.40 (-0.35%)
HUBC 137.10 Increased By ▲ 1.26 (0.93%)
HUMNL 9.95 Increased By ▲ 0.11 (1.12%)
KEL 4.60 Decreased By ▼ -0.01 (-0.22%)
KOSM 4.83 Increased By ▲ 0.17 (3.65%)
MLCF 39.75 Decreased By ▼ -0.13 (-0.33%)
OGDC 138.20 Increased By ▲ 0.30 (0.22%)
PAEL 27.00 Increased By ▲ 0.57 (2.16%)
PIAA 24.24 Decreased By ▼ -2.04 (-7.76%)
PIBTL 6.74 Decreased By ▼ -0.02 (-0.3%)
PPL 123.62 Increased By ▲ 0.72 (0.59%)
PRL 27.40 Increased By ▲ 0.71 (2.66%)
PTC 13.90 Decreased By ▼ -0.10 (-0.71%)
SEARL 61.75 Increased By ▲ 3.05 (5.2%)
SNGP 70.15 Decreased By ▼ -0.25 (-0.36%)
SSGC 10.52 Increased By ▲ 0.16 (1.54%)
TELE 8.57 Increased By ▲ 0.01 (0.12%)
TPLP 11.10 Decreased By ▼ -0.28 (-2.46%)
TRG 64.02 Decreased By ▼ -0.21 (-0.33%)
UNITY 26.76 Increased By ▲ 0.71 (2.73%)
WTL 1.38 No Change ▼ 0.00 (0%)
BR100 7,874 Increased By 36.2 (0.46%)
BR30 25,596 Increased By 136 (0.53%)
KSE100 75,342 Increased By 411.7 (0.55%)
KSE30 24,214 Increased By 68.6 (0.28%)

BRUSSELS: An official EU watchdog on Friday slammed European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen for keeping secret text messages with Pfizer's CEO about purchasing Covid vaccine doses, saying it "constituted maladministration".

The EU ombudsman, Emily O'Reilly, issued a formal recommendation telling von der Leyen's office to search for and hand over the texts under a freedom of information request lodged by a journalist.

Von der Leyen's Commission spearheaded the pre-purchase of Covid vaccines for the 27 EU countries.

More than half the 4.2 billion doses the commission has bought or optioned are sourced from BioNTech-Pfizer, making it by far the biggest supplier to the bloc's inoculation efforts.

EU watchdog approves Pfizer Covid pill

The commission refuses to divulge key aspects of its contracts with Covid vaccine suppliers, notably on pricing, citing commercial confidentiality.

Von der Leyen's active public role in ensuring vaccine access included one-on-one conversations with Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla, a dual Greek-American.

Her commission rebuffed a freedom-of-information request last year for the text messages, refusing to say whether the texts existed -- even though von der Leyen had referred to them herself in a media interview.

It argued to the ombudsman's service that it was only obligated to hand over archived documents and that text messages or other forms of instant messages did not qualify, being "short-lived" and unlikely to "contain in principle important information" on its policies, activities or decisions.

The ombudsman strongly disagreed, saying in her recommendation "it is clear that text messages fall within the scope of the EU's law on public access to documents" and that EU case-law upholds the duty by EU institutions to retain documentation related to its activities.

"The case concerns whether, if the messages concern the commission's work and if it holds them, the commission should have granted public access to them. How the commission dealt with this matter did not allow those questions to be answered. The ombudsman considers that this constituted maladministration," it said.

The ombudsman said the commission should ask von der Leyen's office to again look for the texts, and if it found them, "the Commission should assess whether public access can be granted to them" in line with EU rules.

Comments

Comments are closed.