An “effective and comprehensive European whistle-blower protection programme” should be proposed “immediately” by the EU Commission, urged the Budgetary Control Committee on Monday.
This programme should include whistle-blower protection mechanisms for companies, public bodies and non-profit organisations, says the committee.
MEPS also advocate setting up an independent EU body, with offices in EU member states, to help internal and external whistle-blowers to use “the right channels to disclose their information on possible irregularities” affecting the EU’s financial interests.
Rapporteur Dennis de Jong (GUE/NGL, NL), whose report was approved unanimously with 21 votes, said “For the Committee on Budgetary Control, the role of whistle-blowers has been a matter of concern for many years - not only EU staff reporting irregularities, but also external whistle-blowers. Whereas the former are protected by EU staff regulations, the latter depend on the national legislation for their protection, if any at all”.
“The situation varies from member state to member state. Hence the need for a legislative instrument as well as an independent European institution protecting external whistle-blowers too”, he added.
A temporary whistle-blower desk in the European Parliament
MEPs also call for a special unit to be established within the European Parliament, with dedicated facilities (i.e. hotlines, websites, and contact points) to receive information from whistle-blowers relating to the financial interests of the Union.
This unit would also advise and help protect whistle-blowers against any possible retaliatory measures, until the above-mentioned independent EU body is established. They also urge the EU Commission to set up similar procedures for itself.
The full house will vote on the draft proposals in February.