Julia Reda (Verts/ALE
– Mr President, it is thanks to people like Antoine Deltour and also thanks to the anonymous whistle-blower on the Panama Papers that we are having this debate. I also believe that Parliament is now united in its call for whistle-blower protection at EU level. Even though these whistle-blowers have uncovered cases of tax evasion, it is also clear that they are not the only ones and that the need for whistle-blower protection goes way beyond just the issue of tax evasion and fraud. It is a matter of the rule of law.
No area of EU law can function perfectly without whistle-blowers, whether it is the environment, transport, the internal market or other areas. The quality of our democracy depends on it; that quality is measured by how we treat those who speak out in the public interest. The Commission must win back the trust of the people and this is a great opportunity for doing so, by presenting legislation on whistle-blower protection and presenting horizontal legislation. Parliament has been calling for this for months and the Council is also now ready to consider it. I am glad that it is on the table for the Commission and that it is considering monitoring. But monitoring is not enough. After the case of the LuxLeaks whistle-blowers, what more evidence do we need that there is a need for EU legislation? So, will the Commission commit to including in next year’s work programme a horizontal legislative proposal for whistle-blower protection?