New York Times drags EU into court battle over von der Leyen's Pfizer texts

Ursula von der Leyen: This day marks the beginning of a new era for South-Eastern Europe

The newspaper lodged a lawsuit against the European Commission on January 25.

The New York Times brought the lawsuit to the EU following the failure to release President Ursula von der Leyen's texts with Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla. This comes after Alexander Fanta, a journalist for, requested access to the texts but was refused.

The case will come to a head in the bloc’s highest court as the newspaper disputes the European Commission has a legal obligation to share the texts.

It is believed the messages could contain information on the bloc’s deals to purchase billions of euros worth of COVID-19 doses.

An inquiry by European Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly published in January 2022 found the Commission had not asked von der Leyen’s office for the messages.

Ms O’Reilly wrote: “If text messages concern EU policies and decisions, they should be treated as EU documents.”

However, in response, Commission Vice President Věra Jourová insisted there was no real dispute.

Writing in the Commission’s formal response to the maladministration opinion, she said: “The Commission and the Ombudsman agree that what matters is the content of a document.”

Jourová later added: “Due to their short-lived and ephemeral nature,” text messages “in general do not contain important information relating to policies, activities and decisions of the Commission.”