EU standards to better protect whistle blowers: One step closer to end the legal patchwork

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Liberals and Democrats in the European Parliament have welcomed the backing of the Legal Affairs Committee’s proposals for common standards at EU level to better protect whistle blowers. MEPs have called for protection against retaliatory measures taken from employers and for establishing adequate reporting channels in the public and private sectors. Moreover, better access to comprehensive information and effective assistance from competent authorities should be provided, as well as legal aid in accordance with national law.

Jean-Marie Cavada, Vice President of the Legal Affairs Committee, said today:

“Whistle blowers are a crucial source for investigative journalism and for detecting breaches of collective or individual rights. They contribute to the upholding of the rule of law and democracy in our Union. It is our responsibility to protect them.”

“The currently fragmented legal framework across the EU fails to provide coherent and effective protection. With today’s vote, we are finally one step closer to putting an end to this patchwork, while keeping safeguards against abusive and malicious reports.”

Maite Pagazaurtundúa Ruiz, Rapporteur of the opinion of the Civil Liberties Committee, added:

“Our objective is to protect the general good, and whistle-blowers protect the rule of law and democracy. Unfortunately, the fear of reprisals that many whistle-blowers encounter is not unfounded, this is why secure channels of complaint and reporting are so necessary. We hope that the Council echoes this ambition, so that we can adopt this approach as soon as possible.”

Note to editors:

In order to facilitate the reporting, the proposals foresee to oblige private and public entities to establish internal reporting channels, with a few exceptions for small entities. Member States would have to designate public authorities in charge of receiving and handling reports. Furthermore, the proposals contain, inter alia, access to independent information, access to effective assistance from authorities, as well as access to remedial measures and legal aid.

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