Call to action: Whistleblower protection across the EU

Background information

In 2019 the European Union adopted a ground-breaking Directive to ensure comprehensive and coherent protection of whistleblowers across Europe.  Civil society, including anti-corruption and transparency NGOs, trade unions, journalist associations, and academics were instrumental in calling for legal protections and ensuring the Directive set out a strong foundation to protect the right to speak out against wrongdoing and harm.

Whistleblowing is essential to protecting the public interest – whether it is reporting the corruption that results in sub-standard PPE equipment for front-line workers during COVID-19, or revealing systematic non-compliance with environmental or other safety standards which pollutes the air we breathe, the food we eat or the water we drink. Whistleblowers help responsible businesses learn about problems before the damage is done and help hold irresponsible organisations to account for their wrongdoing or negligence.

Twenty-seven Member States have until December 2021 to transpose the Directive into their national systems.  Progress has been slow and monitoring transposition has revealed some serious problems. For example,

  • Some countries are debating whether or not to protect those who report breaches of national as well as EU law despite the fact that a failure to do so would make a nonsense of any national system to protect whistleblowers
  • Policy makers are still discussing a ‘good faith’ test for whistleblowers despite the EU Directive making it clear that motive is irrelevant as to whether protection is available
  • Too few countries are taking the opportunity to reinforce the freedom of expression provisions to protect public disclosures and journalist sources

Join the seminar to learn about why the transposition of this EU Directive matters to you!  Whistleblowing to protect journalists’ sources, workers’ rights, vulnerable communities during COVID-19 and the environment.

Register & find the agenda here.