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EU in crisis: Why Ursula von der Leyen is facing fire after losing vaccine messages

Why is #UrsulaVonDerLeyen amid controversy related to text messages?

9/18/2021 12:36:00 AM

Why is UrsulaVonDerLeyen amid controversy related to text messages?

EU chief Ursula von der Leyen has come under fire after an ongoing investigation into how text messages she sent regarding Covid vaccinations came to be lost.

The European Ombudsman is demanding an explanation for this technological failure, which happened during vaccine procurement talks.Europe was famously behind with its vaccination efforts - prompting a vaccine row to erupt between the block and UK-Swedish drug-maker AstraZeneca.

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European Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly, the EU’s top accountability and governance officer, launched an inquiry into the European Commission’s refusal to hand over the contents of communications between Ms Von der Leyen and a CEO of an unnamed pharmaceutical company about a COVID-19 vaccine contract.

READ MORE: EU in crisis: Why is Ursula von der Leyen at the heart of controversy?(Image: GETTY)EU in crisis: The Ombudsman is investigating lost text messages(Image: GETTY)France election polls: Why Le Pen is losing votes - Macron boostThe New York Times reported the EC President exchanged calls and texts with the Pfizer chief executive Albert Bourla in April. headtopics.com

The publication claimed these messages made clear Pfizer may have more doses it could offer the bloc and the EU would be thrilled to have them.Ms Von der Leyen and Mr Bourla were first connected in January when the latter explained why his company had been forced to cut vaccine supplies while it upgraded manufacturing facilities in Belgium.

In November 2020, the EU signed a deal for 200 million doses, with the option to add 100 million more.However, in the wake of communications between Ms Von der Leyen and Mr Bourla, the bloc secured a new contract which would include a 900 million dose order through 2023, with the option to add another 900 million.

EU in crisis: The New York Times reported on the messages in April(Image: GETTY)The European Ombudsman requested access to these text messages, but the Commission said it had no record of them.Text messages are generally “short-lived”, the Berlaymont argued.

In principle text messages are excluded from its record-keeping facilities, it added.The bloc’s refusal to grant access to these communications has sparked outrage, leading to a complaint to the Ombudsman which has now taken control of the issue. Read more: Daily Express »

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