Today, the European Commission published its long-awaited proposal for an EU-wide Whistleblower Directive, which is a bold step in recognising the importance and rights of whistleblowers, according to Transparency International EU. The proposal, which is a victory for whistleblowers and campaigners alike, could not come at a more vital time, said the anti-corruption group.
“Behind each and every major scandal, from Lux Leaks, to the Panama Papers and Cambridge Analytica, change in our time is being driven by whistleblowers,” said Nicholas Aiossa, of Transparency International EU. “The European Commission has produced an ambitious proposal, which will need to be strengthened to ensure that whistleblowers, no matter who they are or where they work, will be protected,” continued Aiossa.
The proposed legislation will give much greater protection for individuals who wish to come forward when they encounter corruption or illegality in the workplace and will provide both public and private sector employers with greater legal certainty around their rights and obligations. Transparency International have long called for whistleblower protection and this text is a significant step in the right direction within the context of EU treaty competencies.
Until now EU countries have had different levels of protection for those who wish to expose the truth, with some countries such as Ireland having good laws in place and some such as Cyprus having practically none. While certain provisions need to be strengthened, this proposal provides a strong foundation for potential whistleblowers to be protected under EU law.
Now this proposal will have to be negotiated between the European Parliament and European Council before being adopted. Transparency International urges these institutions to uphold the commitments in this text as it passes through the legislative process and to examine where it might be improved in line with international best practices.