Access to information: Five Greens/EFA MEPs launch legal action on vaccine contract transparency
Today, Greens/EFA MEPs Margrete Auken, Kim van Sparrentak, Tilly Metz, Jutta Paulus, and Michele Rivasi submitted an application to the European Court of Justice against the European Commission, requesting access to key information on the Commission’s contracts with pharmaceutical companies on the purchase agreements of COVID-19 vaccines. This court case follows the Commission’s repeated refusal to provide the public with anything but heavily redacted versions of the contracts. The redactions made it impossible to understand the content of the agreements. Transparency builds trust in the institutions’ ability to roll out public health programmes.
Margrete Auken, Greens/EFA MEP and party to the case against the European Commission, comments:
“Transparency is a key tool in the fight against COVID-19. Secrecy is a breeding ground for distrust and skepticism, and it has no place in public agreements with pharmaceutical companies. The European Commission’s refusal to provide transparency on its vaccine contracts affects the public’s confidence in the EU’s ability to obtain the best possible outcome for its citizens. With this case, we will fight for the public’s right to information.”
Kim van Sparrentak, Greens/EFA MEP and party to the case against the European Commission, comments:
“We are in an ongoing pandemic, as well as an ongoing fight against misinformation. Confidentiality under the guise of trade secrets only fuels uncertainty and fear. Purchases made with public money should come with public information, definitely in matters of health. We are holding our ground against the Commission’s refusal to be transparent with contracts.”
The MEPs are asking for disclosure regarding the price of the vaccine’s unit, advance payments, donations, liability and indemnification, challenge the Commission argumentation on commercial confidentiality and moreover argue that there is an overriding public interest in having access to the contracts.