European Parliament approves new protections for whistleblowers

The European Parliament Tuesday approved new rules for protecting whistleblowers, which will mean individuals won’t be obliged to report breaches of EU law internally.

The first time EU-wide rules were proposed by the European Commission was last year, in the aftermath of scandals such as LuxLeaks and the Panama Papers, which shed light on large-scale corporate and individual tax avoidance schemes.

“On the eve of European elections, Parliament has come together to send a strong signal that it has heard the concerns of its citizens, and pushed for robust rules guaranteeing their safety and that of those persons who choose to speak out,” said MEP and rapporteur Virginie Rozière of the Socialists and Democrats group, in a statement.

MEPs adopted the measures with 591 voting in favor, 29 against and 33 abstentions.

The rules grant protection to individuals reporting breaches of EU laws in a wide range of areas, including financial services, money laundering, product and transport safety as well as public health and data protection. The text states that whistleblowers will still be protected if they choose to disclose information publicly if their initial report does not receive “appropriate” action, as well as if they believe there is imminent danger to the public, or if there’s a risk of retaliation.

The measures also ensure that people reporting breaches are protected from retaliation, such as dismissal or demotion.

Those assisting whistleblowers, such as colleagues or relatives, are also protected.

The law still needs to be approved by EU ministers. Member countries will then have two years to comply.

Politico | April 16, 2019
https://www.politico.eu/article/european-parliament-approves-new-protections-for-whistleblowers/