Council legal opinion must not be used to delay completion of whistleblower protection legislation
The European Council has a responsibility to protect the positive amendments made to the proposal for a whistleblower protection directive adopted by the European Parliament’s legal affairs committee last month.
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.
The now famous Danske Bank Whistleblower, Howard Wilkinson, testified before the TAX3 European Parliament Committee last week. Wilkinson reported suspicious financial transactions at Danske Bank’s Estonia branch, where he worked until 2014.
The WhistleblowerProtection.EU platform is celebrating a job well done, after the Legal Affairs Committee of the European Parliament passed a strengthened whistleblower protection directive, on the 20th of November.
The EU’s whistleblower protection directive, is in a state of flux, key political battles are being fought right now. The whistleblower proposals as they currently stand, have several Achilles heels tucked into the directive’s fine print.
The LuxLeaks revelations were unprecedented not only in the level of corruption they uncovered, but also in the vast array of journalists from different media organisations working together to uncover corruption.
Many of the biggest whistleblower disclosures of recent years have been international in nature – LuxLeaks and the Panama Papers in particular. As pointed out by the Greens in the European Parliament, there is a general European public interest that often supersedes the national interests of a single member state.
Protection for whistleblowers in Europe is currently a patchwork affair. Some countries, such as Ireland having robust laws in place, while others, such as Cyprus, have practically none. 16 EU member states have specific laws or provisions, and 10 of those adopted their laws or in the past 5 years.