European citizens want to speak up – but fear the consequences

European citizens want to speak up – but fear the consequences

One out of four citizens in the European Union (EU) believes that reporting corruption is the most effective thing a person can do to fight it. Unfortunately only a small minority of them would speak up, according to our recent public survey, covering 22 out of the 28 EU member states.

Why is this? Put simply, most fear the consequences: 35% of EU citizens said they are afraid of retaliation or a negative backlash such as losing their job. In France, The Netherlands and Portugal it is 50% who expressed this concern.

At the same time, the majority of European citizens feels personally compelled to report an incidence of corruption. In France, The Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, UK and Portugal more than 80% said they would feel obliged to speak up if they would witness wrongdoing.

We need EU-wide whistleblower protection!

If we want to fight corruption effectively we need to close this gap. Whistleblowers across the EU must be protected and supported when they witness or suspect wrongdoing. But legal protection is uneven across the EU - and poor to non-existent in most EU member states. Ireland adopted a strong bill in 2014, and last week France passed the Loi Sapin which includes provisions for whistleblower protection. But in other countries like Germany and Poland there is no progress at all, and the current whistleblowing legislation process in Italy is stuck at the Senate with an uncertain outcome.

That’s why Transparency International and many other organisations have joined forces in a call for a European law on whistleblower protection. An EU directive in line with good standards for such laws as developed by the Council of Europe and Transparency International would provide certainty for whistleblowers across Europe that their disclosures are protected.

Brave citizens like Andrea Forzoso or John Wilson have successfully uncovered fraud, corruption or danger to public health and safety. LuxLeaks whistleblowers Antoine Deltour and Raphael Halet have helped to shed light on harmful tax avoidance practices, leading to a wide debate about tax transparency and to the adjustment of related rules and regulations.

But without legal protection such people take an enormous risk. Many end up in court or lose their jobs, even though their disclosures were critical to protect the public interest.

This needs to change: If we want to root out corruption and other types of wrongdoing we need to ensure that whistleblowers get the appropriate protection and support. An EU directive would be an important step into the right direction. Sign here to support our call for EU-wide whistleblower protection!

For any press enquiries please contact press@transparency.org

Latest

Support Transparency International

Risky business: Europe’s golden visa programmes

Are EU Member States accepting too much risk in their investor migration schemes?

Future Against Corruption Award 2018

TI is calling on young people across the globe to join the anti-corruption movement. People between the age of 18 and 35 are invited to submit a short video clip presenting their idea on new ways to fight corruption. Three finalists will be invited to Berlin during the International Anti-Corruption Day festivities to be awarded with the Future Against Corruption Award. Apply today!

The Azerbaijani Laundromat one year on: has justice been served?

In September last year, a massive leak of bank records from 2012 to 2014 showed that the ruling elite of Azerbaijan ran a $3 billion slush fund and an international money laundering scheme. One year on, has enough been done to hold those involved to account?

Right to information: knowledge is power

The right to information is vital for preventing corruption. When citizens can access key facts and data from governments, it is more difficult to hide abuses of power and other illegal activities - governments can be held accountable.

Paradise lost among Maldives dodgy land deals

Should tourists run for cover as a storm of corruption allegations sweeps across the Maldives?

Foreign bribery rages unchecked in over half of global trade

There are many losers and few winners when companies bribe foreign public officials to win lucrative overseas contracts. In prioritising profits over principles, governments in most major exporting countries fail to prosecute companies flouting laws criminalising foreign bribery.

Ensuring that climate funds reach those in need

As climate change creates huge ecological and economic damage, more and more money is being given to at-risk countries to help them prevent it and adapt to its effects. But poorly governed climate finance can be diverted into private bank accounts and vanity projects, often leading to damaging effects.

Social Media

Follow us on Social Media