Handover of 280,000 petition signatures calling for a better directive
MEP Virginie Rozière, European Parliament Rapporteur for the proposed whistleblower protection directive, yesterday, received petitions with more than 280,000 signatures, gathered by a coalition of trade unions and NGOs, which she handed over to the Council of the European Union at the final scheduled trilogue in the Parliament on Monday 4 March.
The petitions by Eurocadres, WeMove.EU, Blueprint for Free Speech, FIBGAR and Riparte il Futuro, express European citizens demands for an improved directive to better protect whistleblowers. They also underline that the legislation should allow whistleblowers to firstly report criminal activity and wrongdoing, through the channel, which they find appropriate and are comfortable with, be that to regulatory authorities, law enforcement agencies or the media.
If you report directly to your line manager you could lose your whistleblower protection.
Currently, the proposed whistleblower protection directive states that you are obliged to first report to your organisation’s special internal whistleblowing channel. This contains the danger that if you report directly to your line manager you could lose your whistleblower protection. Campaigners and the petitioners agree with the Parliament in that this requirement should be removed from the directive.
The legislation should allow whistleblowers to firstly report criminal activity and wrongdoing, through the channel, which they find appropriate and are comfortable with.
The petitions which were handed over at the European Parliament, also confirm that the European public wants a directive which includes the right to seek advice from trade unions and NGOs and the possibility to be represented by trade unions.
Petitioners also demand whistleblowers should be fully protected when they report to journalists, this would encourage investigative journalism. There is also a strong belief that a ‘non-regression’ clause needs to be added to the directive. Such a clause would aim at ensuring that the directive cannot be used to worsen existing whistleblower protection laws in Member States.
There is also a strong belief that a ‘non-regression’ clause needs to be added to the directive.
The trilogue will continue next week, an extension beyond the original timetable, making an agreement possible next week, at the earliest. For the legislative process to be finalised before the parliamentary elections an agreement must be made very shortly between the Parliament, Commission and Council. Those working to improve the directive will therefore focus much of their work on last minute advocacy efforts to give a last push for these necessary changes to the whistleblower protection directive.
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European institutions have been seen as being too close to lobbyists and vested interests. It would be a real shame if member states’ representatives were now seen as acting against public concerns, in resisting a whistleblower protection law which encourages the reporting of crime and wrongdoing, said Virginie Rozière MEP.
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