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How the European Commission ensures transparency in relation to ‘advanced purchase agreements’ negotiated with pharmaceutical companies for vaccines against COVID-19

The complainant wrote to the European Commission requesting that it disclose the names of those involved in negotiating 'advance purchase agreements' with pharmaceutical companies for the purchase of a COVID-19 vaccine. The Commission disclosed the name of the Director-General negotiating on behalf of the Commission, but refused to disclose the names of the other experts and members of the 'joint negotiation team' involved in the negotiations. It stated that this was to protect their personal data and to maintain their independence in the ongoing negotiations. The Commission then failed to reply to the complainant's request that it review its decision. 

The Ombudsman opened an inquiry and, as a first step, asked the Commission to elaborate further on its refusal to disclose the names. The Ombudsman is analysing the Commission's reply.