Von der Leyen’s text messages with the CEO of Pfizer: Commission violation of the Regulation on public access to documents
Priority question for written answer P-005139/2021
to the Commission
Sophia in 't Veld (Renew)
On 12 November 2021, Der Spiegel reported that following access to documents requests, the Commission claims that it does not possess any text messages exchanged between Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Albert Bourla, the chief executive of Pfizer, the pharmaceutical company the Commission concluded a contract with. According to the Commission, text messages are by their ‘nature a short-lived document which does not contain in principle important information concerning matters relating to the policies, activities and decisions of the Commission’, and therefore ‘the Commission record-keeping policy would in principle exclude instant messaging’.
- 1.Does the Commission agree that this statement and policy violates Regulation 1049/2001 on public access to documents, which clearly establishes that a ‘‘document’ means any content whatever its medium (written on paper or stored in electronic form [...]) concerning a matter relating to the policies, activities and decisions falling within the institution’s sphere of responsibility’, and that it can be concluded that these text messages do fall within the scope of this Regulation?
- 2.Did President von der Leyen, or a Commission official, delete the messages? If so, what criteria were used as a basis to decide that these were ‘unimportant’ or ‘short-lived’?
- 3.Will the Commission immediately bring its registration of SMS and instant messages into line with Regulation 1049/2001 on public access to documents?
-  https://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/a-new-controversy-erupts-around-ursula-von-der-leyen-s-text-messages-a-6510951f-e8dc-4468-a0af-2ecd60e77ed9
-  Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2001 regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents, OJ L 145, 31.5.2001, p. 43.