There is an urgent need for effective protection for whistleblowers at EU level. That is the key demand of a report from the European Parliament’s Legal Affairs committee, which won the backing of the majority of the MEPs today.
Greens/EFA MEP Molly Scott Cato, who was rapporteur for the opinion in the Economic and Financial Affairs Committee, comments:
"The EU owes it to whistleblowers to urgently protect them and to defend freedom of speech in Europe. Thanks to whistleblowers and journalists like Antoine Deltour and Daphne Galizia, the EU institutions have been able to investigate scandals like Luxleaks and the Panama Papers, leading to concrete policy changes to tackle tax fraud, money laundering and corruption. We therefore have a deep responsibility to act to protect people that take the brave step of challenging wrongdoing and illegal or corrupt activity in Europe.
"Today's report calls on the European Commission to present legislation to protect whistleblowers in both the public and private sectors before the end of the year. We cannot allow the Commission to drag its feet any longer. The Parliament has been clear in insisting that anonymous reporting should be allowed, despite the resistance of the EPP and other groups on the right. We have also been strong in defending the freedom of whistleblowers to report to the press. Without robust protection, whistleblowers and journalists will continue to suffer.
"We expect the Commission to listen to these calls and bring forward robust proposals as soon as possible."
The European Parliament has called for EU-wide whistleblower protection on several different occasions (for example the TAXE report adopted in Plenary in November 2015, the CONT report adopted in Plenary in January 2017) and the Greens/EFA group even drafted their own proposal for an EU Directive in order to push the issue forward.
The European Commission is due to publish the results of its impact assessment and public consultation on whistleblower protection, and has now promised to make a proposal, though not before February next year.