Historic day for whistleblowers as EU agrees pathbreaking legislation

Issued by Transparency International Liaison Office to the European Union



The European Parliament and EU Council have agreed a pathbreaking piece of legislation that will help protect whistleblowers around Europe. The political agreement was reached in tough negotiations in the early hours of this morning, and is the first time that the EU will have dedicated legislation in this area.  

The proposed legislation will give much greater protections 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.

“Today is a historic day for those wish to expose corruption and wrongdoing” said Nick Aiossa, Senior Policy Officer at Transparency International EU, “Whistleblowers in the EU, like Howard Wilkinson, the Danske Bank whistleblower, have spent far too long facing unjust retaliation for speaking out. It is quite an accomplishment that negotiations between the institutions have come to a positive end.”

While certain provisions can be strengthened, the draft legislation provides a strong foundation for potential whistleblowers to be protected under EU law. The directive affords much-needed harmonisation, as up until now, EU countries have had patchwork of protection for those who wish to expose the truth. Ireland, for example, already has good laws in place however Member States such as Cyprus have practically none.  We await the publication of the preliminary text in order to scrutinise it more closely. However, one of the most crucial structural issues of the directive was successfully addressed. “We commend the EU in recognising that whistleblowers should be able to first report wrongdoing to the relevant law enforcement or regulatory authorities.” continued Nick Aiossa.

During the negotiations, petitions demanding that whistleblowers should be granted protection if they reported wrongdoing externally first gathered over a quarter of a million signatures. Over 80 organisations and whistleblowers themselves also sent letters to the institutions to demand a robust directive.

In the coming weeks and months, both the European Council and European Parliament will have to endorse this preliminary agreement. It will then have to be transposed into national laws in Member States. As this directive only relates to EU competences, Member States should use this opportunity to also incorporate national laws in the transposition process.

###

Background

Transparency International, working with a broad coalition of civil society organisations, trade unions and journalist associations, has been advocating for a comprehensive whistleblower directive for many years. We welcomed the Commission’s proposal in April 2018 and supported the strong Parliament report in November 2018, which incorporated many of our main policy recommendations.


For any press enquiries please contact

Lucinda Pearson
E: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
T: +32 2 893 24 66

Latest

Support Transparency International

Support Us

New Report: Who is behind the wheel? Fixing the global standards on company ownership

To counter crime and corruption, law enforcement authorities around the world need to be able to swiftly uncover the identities of the real owners of companies. Transparency International argues that public registers of beneficial ownership should be the norm.

Better blending: how the World Bank can promote transparency in financing sustainable development

As the World Bank holds its annual meetings in Washington D.C this week, Transparency International is calling for greater transparency, accountability and participation in the World Bank’s contribution to financing the 2030 Agenda.

Fighting corruption in the age of “fake news”

"Fake news" has become a major threat to public trust in democracy and news media outlets over the past years. The fight against corruption is also affected.

Right to information: a tool for people power

Globally, approximately 120 countries have right to information laws. In some countries, these laws are top notch, but in others, the laws either don’t exist or need significant improvements. On International Right to Know Day, citizens are speaking out around the world to demand greater accountability from government. But are most people even aware of their right to request information in the first place?

Global Corruption Barometer - Latin America and the Caribbean 2019

The Global Corruption Barometer (GCB) – Latin America & Caribbean highlights the disproportionate effect that corruption has on women and a significant lack of political integrity among government leaders.

Mujeres y corrupción en Latinoamérica y el Caribe

A lo largo de la última década, cada vez más mujeres de Latinoamérica y el Caribe han alzado la voz en reclamo de igualdad de derechos para las mujeres y las niñas.

Women and corruption in Latin America & the Caribbean

The Global Corruption Barometer (GCB) – Latin America and the Caribbean is an important step for understanding how corruption affects women. For the first time, the GCB highlights data on sexual extortion, or sextortion, one of the most significant forms of gendered corruption. It also presents new data on women’s experiences of bribery.

Falta de integridad política en Latinoamérica y el Caribe, especialmente en torno a las elecciones

El Barómetro Global de la Corrupción - América Latina y el Caribe revela una falta de integridad política, especialmente en torno a los procesos electorales.

Social Media

Follow us on Social Media