Ursula Von der Leyen once again under the dark shadow of corruption
The President of the EU commission, a woman who found herself promoted ever upward despite or perhaps precisely because of an unenviable record of ruining everything that she touches is once again under the shadow of corruption.
I say once again because this is not the first time. As recently as 2020, when she was the Minister of Defence (contributing exceedingly to the demise of the Bundeswehr as a force that is supposedly capable of fighting a war) in Germany, she was under investigation in an ongoing probe digging into lucrative contracts that were illegally awarded by Leyen and her senior staff in what was described as corrupt practices. Von der Leyen was hauled in front of a powerful investigative committee of German MPs as evidence had mounted that there may have been tampering with her phones when they were handed back to the ministry (at least she didn’t misplace them like Keith Schembri) and fully wiped of any information which may have proved valuable to the investigation and thereby denying the investigative committee from using such information as proof in the probe.
The wide-ranging investigation resulted in 30 witnesses being called and more than 4,000 documents collected. It was concluded that a circle of nepotistic relationships was allowed to accrue around the former German defence minister, which resulted in contracts being awarded in the hundreds of millions.
When auditors were tasked with investigating how external contractors were awarded they found that in 2015 up €100 million had been spent but only €2.2 million was declared.
Investigators found a similar pattern in 2016 with von der Leyen’s ministry spending €150 million while declaring expenditure amounting to €2.9 million.
Further questions were raised on why lucrative contracts were awarded to the global consulting giant McKinsey & Company, where von der Leyen’s son worked as an associate.
The lack of definite proof left investigators with no other option but to grudgingly clear von der Leyen in the matter, and in order to stave off further embarrassment let her off very lightly when she told the German parliamentary inquiry that “lessons had been learned.”
But apparently, the lessons were not learned – now Von der Leyen is suspected of gross negligence and misconduct in the negotiations about the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines and it seems she still prefers to do her business with text messages. For months, pressure has been piling up on her since her admission that she swapped texts with Pfizer Chief Executive Albert Bourla while the EU was negotiating its vaccine contract with the company. Two EU watchdog agencies have already chided her over the matter, venting over the Commission’s refusal to produce the texts. It is to be pointed out that the Commission ended up buying 4.6 billion doses (including 900 million committed and 900 million optional Pfizer vaccines) of covid vaccines worth an estimated 71 billion euros which works out practically at 10 COVID vaccine doses for each citizen of the European Union!!!
It does not help that her husband Heiko works as a director of the US biotech company Orgenesis which specialises in cell and gene therapies.
So far the commission is holding ranks – when journalists requested access to the texts, they were told: “there was no record of such messages.“
But the EU Ombudsman later revealed that the Commission had never explicitly asked von der Leyen’s team to look for the texts since it didn’t consider them “documents” that merited preservation. In a report on its findings, the ombudsman branded the approach “maladministration.”
The Commission countered that it can’t provide the texts because “short-lived, ephemeral documents are not kept.”
Another EU watchdog, the European Court of Auditors, later piled on in its own probe. The agency found von der Leyen had intervened in early talks with Pfizer and sidelined the usual negotiating teams to personally hash out a preliminary deal.
“We asked the Commission to provide us with information on the preliminary negotiations for this agreement,” the court wrote in a report. “However, none was forthcoming.”
The EU’s public prosecutor’s office has now said it was investigating the EU’s purchase of coronavirus vaccines during the pandemic’s peak. Yet the cagey announcement offered almost no details — nothing on whom it was investigating, what potential crimes it was looking for, or why it had taken the step now.
But they will all hold rank because, despite all the bluster about democracy, transparency and rule of law – and lecturing others around the world as if it was a paladin of virtue, the EU was always an undemocratic cesspit of corruption that makes our own corrupt political representatives look like amateurs. The commission meets and conducts its negotiations in secret – accountable to no one, Brussels has become the second largest lobbying center after Washington. Legislation is drawn up by brigades of anonymous bureaucrats according to the ‘’legal initiative’’ of the Commission – which means only the Commission can initiate legislation or have the final say on it. The EU’s own court of auditors has refused to sign off the EU’s accounts for several years due to high discrepancies where billions upon billions of EU citizens’ taxpayers’ money remained unaccounted for.
Reverting back to the case of the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines, a number of MEPs have for months been calling on the Commission to publish the contracts and when the Commission finally succumbed to the pressure it released a heavily redacted version where blanked-out pages vastly outnumber pages where there is something actually legible. You can gauge the level of transparency by seeing the released version of the contract here.
The same group of indefatigable MEPS has recently summoned the Pfizer CEO to attend a session to answer their questions. He refused to attend, sending instead a representative who in a show of supreme contempt chose to stone-wall most of the questions. However there was one question that was answered; Asked if the vaccines had been tested at all for their efficacy against transmission, the representative answered that they were not. Watch. And you were told to get it to save granny – remember that? Remember when you were coerced into getting the jab in order to get the green pass which supposedly made you less of a threat?
Below is the press conference given by the MEPs who attempted to get the Pfizer CEO to answer some basic questions, answers to which the European populace is long due. Note also, the complete lack of interest by the dearth of journalists that bothered to turn up for the press conference. They too will hold rank because they know very well who butters their bread.
That the EU is a democratic institution is a figment of the imagination, a myth – if you really and truly want to understand the true nature of the EU, why it came about, how it operates, and what its ethos and telos truly are – do yourselves a big favour and read this book.