EU-wide protection needed for whistle-blowers
- Whistle-blower protection fragmented by rules that differ from country to country
- EU-wide protection plan should be tabled before end 2017
- Calls for support, legal protection against retaliation and clearer reporting mechanisms
Whistle-blowers acting in the public interest deserve proper protection and support, say MEPs.
EU rules are needed to better protect and support whistle-blowers and their role in revealing serious breaches of the public interest, such as corruption, miscarriages of justice, tax avoidance, lack of protection for food safety or the environment and attacks on social, human or workers’ rights.
Whistle-blower protection in the EU is patchy and often inadequate, say MEPs. They call on the EU Commission to propose EU-wide rules before the end of this year.
They also argue that all EU countries should introduce:
- reporting mechanisms, to facilitate internal whistle-blowing and allow whistle-blowers to report to NGOs or the press, including the possibility of anonymous reporting,
- protection against retaliation, including sanctions against those attempting to prevent whistle-blowers from speaking out and measures to discourage the retaliatory actions,
- supporting measures, such as legal and financial aid, psychological support and compensation for damage suffered by whistle-blowers in the event of civil proceedings, and
- national independent bodies, responsible for reports, verifying their credibility and guiding whistle-blowers and an EU level authority, to facilitate coordination in cross-border cases.
The non-legislative resolution was passed by 399 votes to 101, with 166 abstentions.
Rapporteur Virginie Rozière (S&D, FR), said "Luxleaks, Panama Papers, Monsanto Papers... Thanks to whistle-blowers, who raise collective awareness about serious encroachments on the public interest, our democratic rules have been improved. Despite their irreplaceable support for press freedom and democratic debate, they still fall prey to severe reprisals.”
“With this resolution, we call for rules to be established to protect whistle-blowers and their rights to directly inform citizens", she continued.