European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s secret text message conversations with the head of Pfizer about how to obtain vaccines for the EU reveal an unorthodox negotiating style that caught the pharmaceutical industry off-guard and willing to close a deal at any cost.
The messages, obtained by Berlaymonster only days after the EU Ombudsman reprimanded von der Leyen for failing to disclose them, show the Commission president assuring Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla that the conversations would never be made public.
The EU Ombudsman accused the Commission of “maladministration” for failing to search for the texts and disclose them. A spokesperson for von der Leyen said the Commission had “taken note of the European Ombudsman's recommendation. The Commission will respond to the European Ombudsman within the deadline set by her, i.e. 26 April 2022."
Within 24 hours, screenshots of the texts were provided to Berlaymonster from high-level sources who requested anonymity “for bloody obvious reasons”.