The Vaccines Procurement Steering Committee & the Joint Negotiation Team

Response to this request is long overdue. By law, under all circumstances, Secretariat General of the European Commission should have responded by now (details). You can complain by requesting an internal review.

Dear Secretariat General,

Under the right of access to documents in the EU treaties, as developed in Regulation 1049/2001, I am requesting documents which contain the following information:

- all reports (and other notes) from meetings of the Vaccines Procurement Steering Committee and the Joint Negotiation Team (JNT) with representatives of pharmaceutical companies about Advance Purchase Agreements (APAs) and the purchase of potential vaccines against COVID-19.

- all correspondence (including emails and their attachments) between the Vaccines Procurement Steering Committee and the Joint Negotiation Team (JNT) and representatives of pharmaceutical companies (including Sanofi-GSK, Johnson & Johnson, CureVac, AstraZeneca, Moderna and others) about Advance Purchase Agreements (APAs) and the purchase of potential vaccines against COVID-19.

- a list of all the above-mentioned documents (including dates, names of participants/senders/recipients and their affiliation, subject of meeting/correspondence).

There is a clear public interest in disclosure of these documents. The transparency rules as set out in the Lisbon Treaty oblige the EU institutions to work as openly and as closely as possible to citizens. There is clearly a lot at stake for EU citizens in the vaccine deal negotiations. Citizens have the right to know about these negotiations that are happening on their behalf, involving billions of euros of public money to be spent for the development of vaccines.

Secrecy around the negotiations about the vaccines, moreover, may undermine public confidence in the EU and its handling of the pandemic, but also in the vaccines themselves (with negative consequences for public health beyond the current pandemic).

Blanket confidentiality cannot be the rule for the negotiations about the Covid19 vaccine contracts. Price and other sorts of confidentiality covering commercial aspects of these contracts cannot preclude transparency, for instance around negotiations about liability and other provisions with clear implications for patient safety and the protection of public health.

The currently negotiated contracts for potential covid19 vaccines differ from usual medicines procurement deals. Considerable amounts of public money and public guarantees are invested into the R&D and manufacturing process through the signature of advance purchase agreements between the European Commission and individual pharma companies. APAs essentially constitute insurance policies paid for by taxpayers' money which amongst other guarantee losses sustained by pharma developers. Governments commit in advance to shouldering the cost of certain liabilities sustained by pharma companies throughout the R&D process; by doing so they de-risk it and become co-developers. This makes the need for transparency and public accountability around the negotiations even stronger.

Please note that there is also a clear public interest in the release of the names of the members of the Joint Negotiation Team (JNT). The public has the right to know who is negotiating on the EU’s behalf. Knowing the names of the negotiators is a pre-condition for assessing potential conflicts of interest.

Yours sincerely,

Olivier Hoedeman
on behalf of Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO)
Rue d'Edimbourg 26,
1050 Brussels, Belgium
Tel. +32 (0)2 893 0930

Secretariat General of the European Commission

Your message has been received by the Transparency Unit of the
Secretariat-General of the European Commission.
Requests for public access to documents are treated on the basis of
[1]Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 of 30 May 2001 regarding public access to
European Parliament, Council and Commission documents.
The Secretariat-General will reply to your request within 15 working days
upon registration of your request and will duly inform you of the
registration of the request (or of any additional information to be
provided in view of its registration and/or treatment).
 
 
L’unité «Transparence» du secrétariat général de la Commission européenne
a bien reçu votre message.
Les demandes d’accès du public aux documents sont traitées sur la base du
[2]règlement (CE) n° 1049/2001 du 30 mai 2001 relatif à l’accès du public
aux documents du Parlement européen, du Conseil et de la Commission.
Le secrétariat général répondra à votre demande dans un délai de 15 jours
ouvrables à compter de la date d’enregistrement de votre demande, et vous
informera de cet enregistrement (ou vous indiquera toute information
supplémentaire à fournir en vue de l'enregistrement et/ou du traitement de
votre demande).
 
 
Ihre Nachricht ist beim Referat „Transparenz“ des Generalsekretariats der
Europäischen Kommission eingegangen.
Anträge auf Zugang zu Dokumenten werden auf der Grundlage der
[3]Verordnung (EG) Nr. 1049/2001 vom 30. Mai 2001 über den Zugang der
Öffentlichkeit zu Dokumenten des Europäischen Parlaments, des Rates und
der Kommission behandelt.
Das Generalsekretariat beantwortet Ihre Anfrage innerhalb von
15 Arbeitstagen nach deren Registrierung und wird Sie über die
Registrierung Ihres Antrags (oder die Notwendigkeit weiterer Informationen
im Hinblick auf dessen Registrierung und/oder Bearbeitung) unterrichten.
 
 

References

Visible links
1. https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/...
2. https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/...
3. https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/...

ve_sg.accessdoc (SG), Secretariat General of the European Commission

1 Attachment

Link: [1]File-List
Link: [2]Edit-Time-Data
Link: [3]themeData
Link: [4]colorSchemeMapping

[5]Ares(2020)4818233 - RE: access to documents request - The Vaccines
Procurement Steering Committee & the Joint Negotiation Team - Gestdem
2020/5436

Sent by ve_sg.accessdoc (SG) <[SG request email]>. All responses have
to be sent to this email address.
Envoyé par ve_sg.accessdoc (SG) <[SG request email]>. Toutes les
réponses doivent être effectuées à cette adresse électronique.

Dear Sir,

Thank you for your e-mail of 15/09/2020. We hereby acknowledge receipt of
your application for access to documents, which was registered on
15/09/2020 under reference number GESTDEM 2020/5436.

In accordance with Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 regarding public access to
European Parliament, Council and Commission documents, your application
will be handled within 15 working days.

The time limit will expire on 06/10/2020. In case this time limit needs to
be extended, you will be informed in due course.

You have lodged your application via a private third-party website, which
has no link with any institution of the European Union.
Therefore, the European Commission cannot be held accountable for any
technical issues or problems linked to the use of this system.

Please note that the private third party running the AsktheEU.org website
is responsible and accountable for the processing of your personal data
via that website, and not the Commission.
For further information on your rights, please refer to the third party’s
privacy policy.

We understand that the third party running the AsktheEU.org website
usually publishes the content of applicants’ correspondence with the
Commission on that website. This includes the personal data that you may
have communicated to the Commission (e.g. your private postal address).

Similarly, the third party publishes on that website any reply that the
Commission will send to the email address of the applicants generated by
the AsktheEU.org website.

If you do not wish that your correspondence with the Commission is
published on a private third-party website such as AsktheEU.org, you can
provide us with an alternative, private e-mail address for further
correspondence. In that case, the Commission will send all future
electronic correspondence addressed to you only to that private address,
and it will use only that private address to reply to your request. You
should still remain responsible to inform the private third-party website
about this change of how you wish to communicate with, and receive a reply
from, the Commission.

For information on how we process your personal data visit our page
[6]Privacy statement – access to documents.

Yours faithfully,

 

ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS TEAM (GD)

 

[7]cid:image001.png@01D45409.F767C980

European Commission

Secretariat-General

SG C.1

[8][email address]

 

 

show quoted sections

Secretariat General of the European Commission

1 Attachment

Dear Mr HOEDEMAN,

             

We refer to your requests both dated 15 September 2020 in which you make a
request for access to documents, both registered on the same date under
the above mentioned reference numbers.

 

Your applications are currently being handled. However, we will not be in
a position to complete the handling of your applications within the time
limit of 15 working days, which expires on 06 October 2020.

 

An extended time limit is needed due to internal consultations and a
thorough analysis of your request.

 

Therefore, we have to extend the time limit with 15 working days in
accordance with Article 7(3) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 regarding
public access to documents. The new time limit expires on 27 October 2020.

 

We apologise for this delay and for any inconvenience this may cause.

 

Yours faithfully,

 

SANTE ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS

[1]cid:image001.gif@01D3FF48.374A49E0
European Commission
Health and Food Safety

 

 

References

Visible links

Dear Secretariat General of the European Commission,

Please pass this on to the person who reviews confirmatory applications.

We are filing the following confirmatory application with regards to our access to documents request 'The Vaccines Procurement Steering Committee & the Joint Negotiation Team' (registered on 15/09/2020 under reference number GESTDEM 2020/5436).

The Commission's deadline for responding to our access to documents request expired on 06 October 2020.

The Commission then extended the time limit with 15 working days. The new time limit expired on 27 October 2020. This is now 10 days ago (!) and we have not heard anything from the Commission about the delayed response.

A full history of our request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.asktheeu.org/en/request/the_...

Yours faithfully,

Olivier Hoedeman
on behalf of Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO)
Rue d'Edimbourg 26,
1050 Brussels, Belgium
http://www.corporateeurope.org

Secretariat General of the European Commission

Your message has been received by the Transparency Unit of the
Secretariat-General of the European Commission.
Requests for public access to documents are treated on the basis of
[1]Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 of 30 May 2001 regarding public access to
European Parliament, Council and Commission documents.
The Secretariat-General will reply to your request within 15 working days
upon registration of your request and will duly inform you of the
registration of the request (or of any additional information to be
provided in view of its registration and/or treatment).
 
 
L’unité «Transparence» du secrétariat général de la Commission européenne
a bien reçu votre message.
Les demandes d’accès du public aux documents sont traitées sur la base du
[2]règlement (CE) n° 1049/2001 du 30 mai 2001 relatif à l’accès du public
aux documents du Parlement européen, du Conseil et de la Commission.
Le secrétariat général répondra à votre demande dans un délai de 15 jours
ouvrables à compter de la date d’enregistrement de votre demande, et vous
informera de cet enregistrement (ou vous indiquera toute information
supplémentaire à fournir en vue de l'enregistrement et/ou du traitement de
votre demande).
 
 
Ihre Nachricht ist beim Referat „Transparenz“ des Generalsekretariats der
Europäischen Kommission eingegangen.
Anträge auf Zugang zu Dokumenten werden auf der Grundlage der
[3]Verordnung (EG) Nr. 1049/2001 vom 30. Mai 2001 über den Zugang der
Öffentlichkeit zu Dokumenten des Europäischen Parlaments, des Rates und
der Kommission behandelt.
Das Generalsekretariat beantwortet Ihre Anfrage innerhalb von
15 Arbeitstagen nach deren Registrierung und wird Sie über die
Registrierung Ihres Antrags (oder die Notwendigkeit weiterer Informationen
im Hinblick auf dessen Registrierung und/oder Bearbeitung) unterrichten.
 
 

References

Visible links
1. https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/...
2. https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/...
3. https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/...

ve_sg.accessdoc (SG), Secretariat General of the European Commission

[1]Ares(2020)6427281 - RE: Internal review of access to documents request
- The Vaccines Procurement Steering Committee & the Joint Negotiation Team

Sent by ve_sg.accessdoc (SG) <[SG request email]>. All responses have
to be sent to this email address.
Envoyé par ve_sg.accessdoc (SG) <[SG request email]>. Toutes les
réponses doivent être effectuées à cette adresse électronique.

Dear Sir,

Thank you for your email dated 06/11/2020 by which you request, pursuant
to Regulation No 1049/2001 regarding public access to European Parliament,
Council and Commission documents, a review of the position taken by DG
SANTE in reply to your initial application GESTDEM 2020/5436.

We hereby acknowledge receipt of your confirmatory application for access
to documents which was registered on 06/11/2020 (Ares(2020)6426066).

Your application will be handled within 15 working days (27/11/2020). In
case this time limit needs to be extended, you will be informed in due
course.

Please be informed that the answer to your confirmatory application is a
formal Commission decision that will be notified to you by express
delivery. Thank you for providing your contact phone number, so that the
external delivery service can contact you in case of absence.

Please note that the Commission will not use your phone number for any
other purpose than for informing the delivery service, and that it will
delete it immediately thereafter.

Yours faithfully,

Access to documents team (RC)

show quoted sections

Dear ve_sg.accessdoc (SG),

important clarification: rather than "a review of the position taken by DG SANTE", I want the Commission to act on the excessive delay in responding to my access to documents request application GESTDEM 2020/5436. DG SANTE did not take any position yet, but failed to respond within the deadlines outlined in regulation 1049/2001.

Responding that my "application will be handled within 15 working days (27/11/2020)" only makes things worse (adding yet another three weeks delay before getting a response / receiving the documents).

Yours sincerely,

Olivier Hoedeman
on behalf of
Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO)
Rue d'Edimbourg 26,
1050 Brussels, Belgium

http://www.corporateeurope.org
Tel. +32 (0)2 893 0930

Secretariat General of the European Commission

Your message has been received by the Transparency Unit of the
Secretariat-General of the European Commission.
Requests for public access to documents are treated on the basis of
[1]Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 of 30 May 2001 regarding public access to
European Parliament, Council and Commission documents.
The Secretariat-General will reply to your request within 15 working days
upon registration of your request and will duly inform you of the
registration of the request (or of any additional information to be
provided in view of its registration and/or treatment).
 
 
L’unité «Transparence» du secrétariat général de la Commission européenne
a bien reçu votre message.
Les demandes d’accès du public aux documents sont traitées sur la base du
[2]règlement (CE) n° 1049/2001 du 30 mai 2001 relatif à l’accès du public
aux documents du Parlement européen, du Conseil et de la Commission.
Le secrétariat général répondra à votre demande dans un délai de 15 jours
ouvrables à compter de la date d’enregistrement de votre demande, et vous
informera de cet enregistrement (ou vous indiquera toute information
supplémentaire à fournir en vue de l'enregistrement et/ou du traitement de
votre demande).
 
 
Ihre Nachricht ist beim Referat „Transparenz“ des Generalsekretariats der
Europäischen Kommission eingegangen.
Anträge auf Zugang zu Dokumenten werden auf der Grundlage der
[3]Verordnung (EG) Nr. 1049/2001 vom 30. Mai 2001 über den Zugang der
Öffentlichkeit zu Dokumenten des Europäischen Parlaments, des Rates und
der Kommission behandelt.
Das Generalsekretariat beantwortet Ihre Anfrage innerhalb von
15 Arbeitstagen nach deren Registrierung und wird Sie über die
Registrierung Ihres Antrags (oder die Notwendigkeit weiterer Informationen
im Hinblick auf dessen Registrierung und/oder Bearbeitung) unterrichten.
 
 

References

Visible links
1. https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/...
2. https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/...
3. https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/...

ve_sg.accessdoc (SG), Secretariat General of the European Commission

1 Attachment

Link: [1]File-List
Link: [2]Edit-Time-Data
Link: [3]themeData
Link: [4]colorSchemeMapping

[5]Ares(2020)7142196 - Your confirmatory application for access to
documents under Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 - GESTDEM 2020-5436 - 1st
holding letter

Sent by ve_sg.accessdoc (SG) <[SG request email]>. All responses have
to be sent to this email address.
Envoyé par ve_sg.accessdoc (SG) <[SG request email]>. Toutes les
réponses doivent être effectuées à cette adresse électronique.

Dear Mr Hoedeman,

We refer to your email of  6 November 2020, registered on the same day, by
which you submitted a confirmatory application in accordance with Article
7(2) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 regarding public access to European
Parliament, Council and Commission documents[6]^[1] ("Regulation (EC) No
1049/2001").

 

Your confirmatory application is currently being handled. Unfortunately,
we have not yet been able to gather all the elements needed to carry out a
full analysis of your request and to take a final decision. Therefore, we
are not in a position to reply to your confirmatory request within the
prescribed time limit which expires on 18 December 2020.

 

We apologise for this delay and for any inconvenience this may cause but
we would like to assure you that we will do our utmost to provide you with
a reply as soon as possible.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

María OLIVÁN AVILÉS
Head of Unit

[7]cid:image001.gif@01D13362.41D673C0

European Commission

Secretariat General

Unit C.1 (Transparency, Document Management and Access to Documents)

 

------------------------

[8][1]               Official Journal L 145 of 31.5.2001, p. 43.

References

Visible links
1. file:///tmp/cid:filelist.xml@01D6C4AA.5F70CA00
2. file:///tmp/cid:editdata.mso
3. file:///tmp/~~themedata~~
4. file:///tmp/~~colorschememapping~~
5. https://webgate.ec.testa.eu/Ares/documen...
6. file:///tmp/foiextract20201127-2287-jjtjy#_ftn1
8. file:///tmp/foiextract20201127-2287-jjtjy#_ftnref1

ve_sg.accessdoc (SG), Secretariat General of the European Commission

1 Attachment

Link: [1]File-List
Link: [2]Edit-Time-Data
Link: [3]themeData
Link: [4]colorSchemeMapping

[5]Ares(2020)7726566 - Your confirmatory application for access to
documents under Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 - GESTDEM 2020/5436 - 2nd
holding letter

Sent by ve_sg.accessdoc (SG) <[SG request email]>. All responses have
to be sent to this email address.
Envoyé par ve_sg.accessdoc (SG) <[SG request email]>. Toutes les
réponses doivent être effectuées à cette adresse électronique.

Dear Mr
Hoedeman,                                                                

We refer to your email of  6 November 2020, registered on the same day, by
which you submitted a confirmatory application in accordance with Article
7(2) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 regarding public access to European
Parliament, Council and Commission documents[6]^[1] ("Regulation (EC) No
1049/2001"). We also refer to our holding letter of 27 November 2020.

 

Your confirmatory application is currently being handled. Unfortunately,
the internal consultations are still ongoing in relation to your
request. Therefore, we are not in a position to reply to your confirmatory
request within the prescribed time limit which expires on 18 December
2020.

 

We apologise for this delay and for any inconvenience this may cause but
we would like to assure you that we will do our utmost to provide you with
a reply as soon as possible.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

María OLIVÁN AVILÉS
Head of Unit

[7]cid:image001.gif@01D13362.41D673C0

European Commission

Secretariat General

Unit C.1 (Transparency, Document Management and Access to Documents)

 

------------------------

[8][1]               Official Journal L 145 of 31.5.2001, p. 43.

References

Visible links
1. file:///tmp/cid:filelist.xml@01D6D519.09639C30
2. file:///tmp/cid:editdata.mso
3. file:///tmp/~~themedata~~
4. file:///tmp/~~colorschememapping~~
5. https://webgate.ec.testa.eu/Ares/documen...
6. file:///tmp/foiextract20201218-12436-mudqpb#_ftn1
8. file:///tmp/foiextract20201218-12436-mudqpb#_ftnref1

Dear Secretariat-General (SG),

on December 18th you informed us that "internal consultations are still ongoing" regarding our access to documents request GESTDEM 2020/5436 and that you "are not in a position to reply" within the prescribed time limit", which expired that same day. You announced that you would reply "as soon as possible." In other words: no specific explanation or justification, no new deadline but an indefinite delay.

Our access to documents request was submitted on September 15th and we have still not received a substantive response, let alone received any of the documents we asked for. This is completely at odds with the Commission's obligations under Regulation 1049/2001 (which has clear deadlines for responding) and constitutes maladministration.

Your handling of our request gives us the impression that the Commission has de facto unilaterally decided that the EU's access to documents legislation does not apply to the covid-19 vaccine deals. Our request outlined very clearly the overriding public interest in the disclosure of the documents.

We are deeply disappointed by the Commission's handling of our request and see no other option than submitting a complaint to the European Ombudsman.

Yours sincerely,

Olivier Hoedeman
on behalf of Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO)
Rue d'Edimbourg 26,
1050 Brussels, Belgium

Sg-Acc-Doc@ec.europa.eu, Secretariat General of the European Commission

Your message has been received by the Transparency Unit of the
Secretariat-General of the European Commission.
Requests for public access to documents are treated on the basis of
[1]Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 of 30 May 2001 regarding public access to
European Parliament, Council and Commission documents.
The Secretariat-General will reply to your request within 15 working days
upon registration of your request and will duly inform you of the
registration of the request (or of any additional information to be
provided in view of its registration and/or treatment).
 
 
L’unité «Transparence» du secrétariat général de la Commission européenne
a bien reçu votre message.
Les demandes d’accès du public aux documents sont traitées sur la base du
[2]règlement (CE) n° 1049/2001 du 30 mai 2001 relatif à l’accès du public
aux documents du Parlement européen, du Conseil et de la Commission.
Le secrétariat général répondra à votre demande dans un délai de 15 jours
ouvrables à compter de la date d’enregistrement de votre demande, et vous
informera de cet enregistrement (ou vous indiquera toute information
supplémentaire à fournir en vue de l'enregistrement et/ou du traitement de
votre demande).
 
 
Ihre Nachricht ist beim Referat „Transparenz“ des Generalsekretariats der
Europäischen Kommission eingegangen.
Anträge auf Zugang zu Dokumenten werden auf der Grundlage der
[3]Verordnung (EG) Nr. 1049/2001 vom 30. Mai 2001 über den Zugang der
Öffentlichkeit zu Dokumenten des Europäischen Parlaments, des Rates und
der Kommission behandelt.
Das Generalsekretariat beantwortet Ihre Anfrage innerhalb von
15 Arbeitstagen nach deren Registrierung und wird Sie über die
Registrierung Ihres Antrags (oder die Notwendigkeit weiterer Informationen
im Hinblick auf dessen Registrierung und/oder Bearbeitung) unterrichten.
 
 

References

Visible links
1. https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/...
2. https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/...
3. https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/...

Olivier Hoedeman left an annotation ()

On January 22nd, the European Ombudsman started investigating the European Commission's secrecy around its Covid-19 vaccine contracts with pharmaceutical companies and the negotiations that shaped these contracts. This inquiry was sparked by complaints filed by Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) against the Commission's handling of this Freedom of Information (FOI) request, as well as a second FOI request for the disclosure of the Commission's contract with AstraZeneca.

ve_sante.c.3(SANTE), Secretariat General of the European Commission

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Hoedeman,

Please find attached document Ares(2021)1844668 from GALLINA Sandra (SANTE) dated 15/03/2021.

Best regards,
SANTE C3 Secretariat