In April 2021, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen revealed that she had been texting with Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla for a month straight while they were negotiating a massive contract for Covid-19 vaccines.
Now, they're gone.
According to Reuters, "in response to a public access request by a journalist because of the importance of the deal, the Commission did not share the texts, triggering accusations of maladministration by the EU’s ombudsman, Emily O’Reilly."
"The Commission can confirm that the search undertaken by the President’s cabinet for relevant text messages corresponding to the request for access to documents has not yielded any results," said EU justice commissioner Vera Jourova in a letter to O'Reilly, an EU watchdog.
In the letter, the Commission argues that text messages do not need to be registered and stored because they are treated as “short-lived, ephemeral documents”. The same exception to the general registration requirement applies to documents with no important information, the letter said.
A spokesperson for the ombudsman said that it planned to publish a detailed analysis on the matter in the next couple of weeks. -Reuters
In an April 2021 NYT interview, von dery Leyen said she negotiated the 'biggest contract ever sealed for COVID-19 vaccines' via text messages and calls, resulting in the EU committing to purchase 900 million Pfizer-BioNTech jabs, with an option for 900 million more down the road. By the time the deal was formally announced in May 2021, the EU had already secured a wide range of vaccines from several manufacturers - including another 600 million doses from Pfizer.
Many of the EU governments who initially backed the deal are now trying to renegotiate or cut supplies of the Pfizer jab amid cratering vaccination rates and concerns over waste.