We, whistleblowers and Members of the European Parliament, express our solidarity with the LuxLeaks whistleblowers Antoine Deltour and Raphael Halet, as well as the journalist, Edouard Perrin, who all served the public interest by shedding light on illegal tax avoidance schemes in Europe.
Retaliation against people disclosing information in the public interest, be it by harassing, dismissing or putting them on trial must stop. Whistleblowing is not a crime – it is a service to the community. So is investigative journalism.
Across Europe and the world, whistleblowers - together with journalists - have exposed wrongdoing involving threats to people’s health and safety, the environment, and financial interests or democratic values that otherwise would have remained concealed; including torture and surveillance practices in government institutions, corruption, unsafe conditions in health and care facilities, VAT fraud and tax evasion schemes.
The hazards prevented, billions recovered, and numerous lives saved thanks to whistleblower disclosures are only surpassed by the even longer list of incidents that could have been and could still be prevented if whistleblowers were able to rely on stronger measures to protect their lives, jobs, families and future, and if journalists were truly free to exercise their watchdog function.
Whistleblowing strengthens political and corporate integrity as well as good governance, it helps to fight corruption and related crimes, it promotes an overall increase of transparency and accountability and increases our chances to live in a healthy environment. For all these reasons, we appeal to the European Commission and to the EU Member States to introduce strong and comprehensive mechanisms to protect whistleblowers from any kind of retaliation, including by adopting a European Directive to set minimum standards of protection for whistleblowers across the continent. We also call for respect for freedom of the press and freedom of expression globally.
Whistleblowers across Europe have taken the decision to share what they know in the interest of the community, and for this they continue to pay a heavy price. Whistleblowers will continue to suffer and other honest citizens will be discouraged to expose wrongdoing, unless we all act decisively to support whistleblowers and act now to protect them from retaliation.