The EU Parliament’s COVID-19 committee has issued a formal request for von der Leyen to appear before MEPs to provide them with information to further their investigation into the EU’s response to the pandemic.
T he Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) leading the European Parliament’s COVID-19 committee have made a decisive move to call upon the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, to appear before the panel in a public setting.
This request is in regards to her role in negotiating a multibillion-euro coronavirus vaccine contract that was signed at the height of the pandemic – the third and largest contract signed with Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech.
The MEPs are eager to question von der Leyen on the details of the contract, as well as her reported exchange of text messages with Pfizer’s Chief Executive Albert Bourla. The MEPs have stated that they are not accusing von der Leyen of any wrongdoing, but they believe it is necessary to have a full understanding of the contract and its implications. When invited, Bourla himself has refused to appear twice before the committee.
The MEPs are eager to question Ursula von der Leyen. | CREDIT: UNSPLASH/GUILLAUME PERIGOIS
In a statement, the committee’s chair, Belgian MEP Kathleen Van Brempt, explains:
In her statement, Van Brempt also warned that, in response to Bourla’s refusal to testify, the committee would be requesting the revocation of Pfizer’s European Parliament access privileges.
After the Qatargate corruption scandal that engulfed the EU Parliament last year, in her statement, the Belgian MEP explains in one simple sentence why transparency is important with the vaccine contracts:
The European Public Prosecutor’s Office has also launched an investigation into the vaccine contracts without specifying whether the European Commission President is a target of the inquiry.
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▫ PMP News reporting.