Rozière positions whistleblower protection law as response to public concerns

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.

November 28, 2018News
Rozière MEP speaking at EBU event

The Rapporteur for the Whistleblower Protection Directive spoke at the recent European Broadcasting Union (EBU) event. Two days after successfully steering the whistleblowers protection measures, through the EP’s Legal Affairs Committee.

‘The European Parliament and the Council have to embrace the fact that elections are close at hand. Whistleblowers have largely driven the current mandate of the European Parliament (EP)’, Rozière stated.

Whistleblowers combat money laundering & tax evasion

If you think about Lux Leaks, the Panama Papers and now the Danske Bank case, whistleblowers interventions and revelations have been essential in helping us combat tax fraud, tax evasion and money laundering, continued the MEP. So, it is important that we in the EP now give them our protection and support with an ambitious whistleblower protection law, which was only partially represented in the initial proposal developed by the European Commission.

Whistleblowers have largely driven the current mandate of the European Parliament

On the strict stepped approach to reporting, where internal reporting is mandatory as a first step, the MEP highlighted the 2014 Council of Europe Recommendation on protection of whistleblowers. It acknowledges that ‘the individual circumstances of each case will determine the most appropriate channel’ when it comes to reporting.

Challenges ahead for directive

Reflecting on the upcoming battle to get the whistleblower protection adopted, Rozière said it could be a challenge to get both the hierarchy between external and internal reporting deleted and reporting on workers’ rights added, as there seems to be reservations in both the Council and from the Commission.

Whistleblowers are best placed to determine whom to disclose the information they have uncovered to, including reporting to the media

Chairing the event, Nicola Frank, EBU’s Head of European Affairs emphasised the importance of whistleblowers as a source for investigative journalism. She also noted that whistleblowers are best placed to determine whom to disclose the information they have uncovered to, including reporting to the media, which was included in the report on the directive, recently adopted by the EP. Frank welcomed the EP committee’s decision to delete the stepped approach to reporting, despite fierce political opposition.

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