News reports

EU transparency news reports in 2022

Since September 2014, the Open Government in the EU blog scans English-language online news outlets for news on EU transparency. Below, you can find the news digest for 2022.

Central topics in news coverage were opacities caused by the corona pandemic and the rule of law crisis, and the potential reform of the EU’s access to documents regulation.

Photo credit: Reuters
EU transparency news in 2022: scandal, abuse, corruption

In 2022, a total of 39 English-language news reports were identified as relating to a diverse range of EU transparency issues.

Topic 1: Pfizergate

The start of the year saw the tail end of the so-called Pfizergate scandal that erupted a year earlier, when the European Ombudsman published a very critical report on the episode. To remind, the scandal concerned text message exchanges between the Commission President and the big pharma firm Pfizer’s CEO Bourla. First confirmed by Von der Leyen herself in an interviewed, then denied to be held by the Commission when requested. In the words of the press, the Ombudsman ‘slammed’, ‘rebuked’, and ‘rapped’ the Commission President. However, there was also (weak) support in the press for Von der Leyen.

Topic 2: Frontex in disarray

A year after Frontex took the headlines for its gross mismanagement and secretiveness in a stunning public relations mishap, similar reports continued to emerge in 2022. By mid-April, the position of then-director Leggeri become untenable, leading to him tendering his resignation. The remainder of the year, Frontex continued to be scrutinised for its handling of transparency-related questions.

Topic 3: Qatargate

Pfizergate barely over yet, the EU institutions got into position for another scandal, far greater than those related to the text messages of Von der Leyen. Qatargate contained all the features used by as arguments transparency advocates to push for more stringent disclosure: corruptability, suitcases with bribery money, foreign interference, and MEPs on the run from the police.

Overview of news reports

A chronological overview of media reports as tracked by this blog can be found below.

Most recent news reports on EU transparency can also be found at the bottom of this page.

See also the news report digests for 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016,  2015 (first quarter, second quarter, and second half), and 2014 (last quarter).


03/01/22// EUObserver: Transparency, Interrupted

11/01/22// EUObserver: Socialist and Green MEPs find ‘loopholes’ in political ads rules

11/01/22// Parliament Magazine: Political ads must be more transparent, new proposal suggests

19/01/22// Euractiv: EU border agency must boost transparency of its operations -EU ombudsman

21/01/22// Jurist: EU data supervisor calls for more transparent political advertising

21/01/22// InfoMigrants: Frontex needs be more transparent, EU ombudsman

21/01/22// EP Working Group on Responsible Business Conduct: MEPs Wolters, Hautala, Aubry and Durand: “The Regulatory Scrutiny Board still has questions to answer on due diligence delay”

28/01/22// Euractiv: Industry slams lack of transparency in EU approval process for ‘sustainable biofuels’

28/01/22// Euractiv: EU watchdog accuses Commission of maladministration over texts to Pfizer CEO

28/01/22// Politico: EU watchdog raps Commission over von der Leyen’s texts with Pfizer boss

28/01/22// Bloomberg: EU’s Von Der Leyen Told to Look for Pfizer Vaccine Texts

28/01/22// EUObserver: Von der Leyen slammed for not revealing Pfizer CEO texts

28/01/22// Guardian: EU executive rebuked for not disclosing Von der Leyen-Pfizer texts

04/02/22// EUObserver: Opinion: Von der Leyen’s Pfizer texts – why transparency isn’t all good

09/02/22// Follow the Money: Brussels conceals records on recovery billions, despite transparency pledge

11/02/22// Politico: EU Influence: Recovery fund transparency

14/02/22// Irish Times: European Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly lauded for transparency work

02/03/22// Investigate Europe: EU Ombudsman calls on Council to comply with case law on transparency

04/03/22// Politico EU Influence: EU policy transparency

04/03/22// Statewatch: Frontex: border agency with ballooning budget in transparency tug of war

09/03/22// Follow the Money: European Commission officials admitted that internal record-keeping rules were vague

11/03/22// ECRE: Frontex: MEPs Urge Release of EU Anti-Fraud Investigation

11/03/22// AIE: Is the Guardian of the Treaties Doing Enough for EU Transparency? MEPs don’t seem to think so!



05/07/22// EUObserver: EU Parliament sued over secrecy on Nazi MEP expenses


18/11/22// EUObserver: French official accused of conflict over EU fish lobby job

23/11/22// EULawLive: European Citizens’ Initiative for the institutionalization of a European Day of “Whatever it Takes”

25/11/22// Transparency International: Why are EU public registers going offline, and what’s next for corporate transparency?

30/11/22// EUObserver: Frontex leadership candidates grilled by MEPs

09/12/22// Politico: Von der Leyen’s COVID vaccine deal comes under fire from EU capitals

12/12/22// Politico: EU standards chief calls for tougher lobbying rules amid Qatar scandal      

12/12/22// Politico EU Influence: EU Parliament ‘under attack’ as Qatar corruption scandal grows

13/12/22// EUObserver: Over 4,000 Frontex documents published by German NGO

14/12/22// EULawLive: Upcoming legislation on political advertising: Council’s negotiating mandate ready

15/12/22// Politico: Parliament of loopholes: Why the Qatar scandal was inevitable

15/12/22// France24: European Parliament shaken by allegations of corruption after ‘Qatargate’ arrests

15/12/22// EUObserver: Metsola pledges EU parliament reforms after bribe allegations

16/12/22// EUObserver: Op-ed: ‘Qatargate’ is the tip of the iceberg

16/12/22// EUObserver: Op-ed: How to restore the European Parliament’s reputation