EU must provide legal protection to whistle-blowers, urge MEPs
Whistle-blowers leaking information in the public interest play a crucial role in upholding democracies, and must therefore be better protected from prosecution, reprisals and threats. This was the key message voiced by many MEPs in Wednesday evening’s debate with Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen and Ivan Korčok from the Slovak Presidency of the Council on how to improve legal safeguards for people revealing illegal or unethical activities in the public or private sectors.
”Whistle-blowers are important in the fight against corruption as well as tax avoidance, and necessary when it comes to strengthening the European rule of law. We also need a clear legal basis in order to protect them, and that is why the Commission has already taken steps through sectoral legislation and guidelines to further enhance their status. We are currently assessing if more action on EU level could be introduced”, said Mr Katainen.
”In recent years, several developments have highlighted the importance of whistle-blowers seeking to inform the general public of serious misconduct within different sectors. These people also deserve our protection. Should the Commission therefore chose to propose new legislation in order to further boost and protect the role of whistle-blowers, the Council is ready to deal with it, said Mr Korčok.
In the debate, most MEPs argued that further EU legislation is needed to protect whistle-blowers. This should also include EU-wide rules to align and strengthen national laws, they added.
The debate was prompted by the recent conviction of "Luxleaks" whistle-blowers Antoine Deltour and Raphaël Halet by a Luxembourg court for having revealed favourable tax deals granted to multinationals by the Luxembourg authorities.