ER Editor: See earlier publications on von der Leyen’s text messages to Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla and other corruption issues.
Law professor Alberto Alemanno from the article below has this perceptive comment to say about the latest legal salvo against von der Leyen’s mysteriously unavailable text messages:
“My first reaction — without, again, having read the briefs — is that this legal action is almost a provocation attempt at raising the visibility around the inability of the Commission to respond to the European ombudsman claims, and to add up to the pressure that the New York Times legal action brought before court,” Alemanno said.
The mysterious Pfizer contracts, still running, have put EU countries on the hook for millions of doses that have gone to waste and will continue to go to waste as demand for the injections continues to decline. And nobody seems accountable.
Another week, another attempt to get access to *those* text messages. And this time it’s personal.
While the prospects for the case are as-yet unclear, the lodging of a criminal complaint against Commission President Ursula von der Leyen by 35-year-old Belgian lobbyist Frédéric Baldan over undisclosed text messages adds to the clamour of voices calling for greater transparency over how the EU’s COVID-19 vaccine contracts were negotiated.
It was meant to be her crowning achievement: The Commission President swooping in to take decisive action at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, rescuing the bloc in its hour of need. But pressure is mounting to reveal the extent of her personal role in the deal, which has left countries on the hook for millions of unneeded doses at a time when her name is increasingly being bandied about as a candidate for a second term as Commission President.
European lawmakers, national health ministers, journalists, the European budget watchdog, possibly the European prosecutor and now a Belgian lobbyist all want to find out more about what exactly was said in messages exchanged between von der Leyen and Pfizer Chief Executive Albert Bourla in the run up to a massive deal for up to 1.8 billion doses of BioNTech/Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in the spring of 2021.
First reported by Belgian outlet Le Vif, Baldan filed a criminal complaint in Belgium against von der Leyen on April 5 with a judge at the court of first instance in Liège.
The filing comes in the wake of a case brought by the New York Times against the European Commission in the European Court of Justice over access to the texts, which itself follows a finding of maladministration against the institution from the European Ombudsman for failure to search for the messages in response to a freedom of information request.
CONTINUE READING HERE
Featured image, Ursula von der Leyen: Clemens Bilan/EPA-EFE
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