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Legal Battle: NY Times Vs Pfizer & Von Der Leyen

The American daily New York Times takes the European Commission to court. A judicial escalation after the refusal of the European executive to transmit text messages exchanged between its president, Ursula von der Leyen, and the CEO of the pharmaceutical company Pfizer, Albert Bourla, during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The European Commission, and in particular its president, Ursula von der Leyen, are in the crosshairs of the New York Times. The American newspaper targets the SMS that the leader exchanged with Albert Bourla, the CEO of Pfizer. These messages could contain information on the purchase, by European states, of 1.8 billion doses of vaccines against Covid-19. As a reminder, the price of a dose was 19.50 euros. The New York Times claims, before the European Court of Justice, that the Commission submits to the legal obligation to communicate these messages.

The American daily was the first media to reveal the affair, in April 2021, when the President of the European Commission had entrusted one of her journalists to exchange directly with the boss of Pfizer to obtain doses of vaccines in large quantities.

Journalist From The German Investigative Site

These text messages had already been requested by a journalist from the German investigative site Netzpolitik. It was based on the right of European citizens to access any official document of the European Union, whatever the medium, as specified in the English version of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU*. He had obtained a few letters, but never the text messages exchanged, the Commission arguing that they had disappeared, because of their ephemeral nature.

This is not the first legal action in this case. The popular German daily Bild has in the past also attacked the Commission and obtained emails and documents relating to the negotiation of contracts for the sale of Covid-19 vaccines from Pfizer/BioNtech and AstraZeneca.

This article is originally published on rfi.fr

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