Now is the time for every European government to protect whistleblowers

Author
Lucinda Pearson
Date
23 June, 2020
Type
Press Release
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Issued by Whistleblowing International Network

Brussels/Glasgow 23 June 2020

In April 2019, the European Parliament adopted a game-changing Directive designed to protect whistleblowers across Europe. Once the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament approved the new law, it came into force on 16 December 2019.  Twenty-seven countries have until the end of 2021 to transpose these far-reaching provisions into their own legal and institutional systems.  This is where reality hits.  Now the true commitment of governments to protect those who speak up in the public interest in Europe will be put to the test!

Today, on World Whistleblowing Day, 23 June, the Whistleblowing International Network along with its many partners and colleagues across Europe are launching the EU Whistleblowing Meter to track the progress of transposition in each country.  This is a singular opportunity for European nations to reinforce their democratic foundations and implement truly progressive, coherent, and consistent whistleblower rights across Europe that serve the interests of all.

European civil society has long understood that whistleblowing is about ensuring the right information gets to the right place so that action can be taken and proper oversight ensues.  Over the next 18 months, we will work with our team of voluntary country editors to document national progress on transposition to help everyone determine whether EU governments are living up to their obligations to protect whistleblowers.  We will know whether countries are acting in good faith; consulting widely and openly to develop and adopt comprehensive legal and institutional whistleblower protection measures that reinforce good governance, hold decision-makers to account and allow for substantive civic engagement. 

Anna Myers, Executive Director of WIN explains “Whistleblower protection is only successful when civil society is fully engaged, keeping authorities accountable for their actions. The EU Whistleblowing Meter is a simple and effective way to monitor transposition.  We need governments to get this right, especially now, as the crisis of COVID-19 reinforces the critical importance of information flowing freely to help us keep ourselves and our communities safe, and to prepare for a different future.”

Whistleblowing saves lives.  Individuals are speaking out across Europe and around the world about the lack of protective equipment and systems to protect the health of front-line workers in medical and social care sectors, in transport, food supplies, and critical infrastructure and they are forcing governments to respond.

“Whistleblower protection is a workplace issue”, says Martin Jefflén, President of Eurocadres, the European trade union organisation of professionals and managers, and convener of the WhistleblowerProtection.EU coalition. “The EU Directive to protect whistleblowers was a huge step for Europe and now we need to make it work on the ground.  Eurocadres is delighted to join WIN in supporting our trade union and wider coalition members in monitoring and advocating for whistleblower protections that go well beyond the minimum required and to secure stronger workers’ and trade union rights.  It is a matter of social and economic well-being.”

Nick Aiossa, Deputy Director and Head of Political Integrity at Transparency International EU agrees “We have 18 months to make the vital legal protections for whistleblowers that we worked so hard to achieve at EU level, really work in practice at national level. These are the same months that Europe will be easing the COVID-19 restrictions. More whistleblowers will be letting us know where and how the existing weaknesses in our systems were corrupted to siphon essential public funds away from those who needed them the most.  The EU Whistleblowing Meter will help us demand the change we need across Europe to ensure we protect the whistleblowers who help us protect the public interest.”

Additional Information:

 EU Whistleblowing Meter is found at https://euwhistleblowingmeter.polimeter.org/

The Whistleblowing International Network (WIN) is an international charity based in Scotland. WIN’s mission is to strengthen the capacity of civil society to protect public interest whistleblowers worldwide, to support the work of civil society in turning legal rights into active protection for whistleblowers, and to assist in ensuring that whistleblowing disclosures achieve lasting change in the public interest.

Eurocadres – the Council of European Professional & Managerial Staff, is a recognised cross-sectoral European Social partner representing six million European professionals and managers. Eurocadres was the initiator of WhistleblowerProtection.EU, the coalition of 89 trade unions and non- governmental organisations who cooperated in advocating for a directive to protect whistleblowers. Eurocadres is also an associate member organisation of WIN.

Transparency International EU is part of the global anti-corruption movement, Transparency International, which includes over 100 chapters around the world. Transparency International EU leads the movement’s EU advocacy, in close cooperation with national chapters worldwide. Transparency International EU’s mission is to prevent corruption and promote integrity, transparency and accountability in EU institutions, policies and legislation

Press Contacts:

Anna Myers, Executive Director, Whistleblowing International Network: +44 7598 109 114

Martin Jefflén, President, Eurocadres: +32 473 55 53 44

Nick Aiossa, Deputy Director/Head of Political Integrity, Transparency International EU: +32 483 04 81 70

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Nicholas Aiossa

Deputy Director, Head of Political Integrity
naiossa@transparency.org