Whistleblowing: European Parliament spotlight

Published on 28th Sep 2017

Brussels votes on measures to increase protection of whistle-blowers.

Whistleblowing is still outstanding within the European Union (“EU“). Nowadays, few doubt the benefits of whistle-blowers because not only do they promote healthier companies but they also work to prevent unlawful conducts that weaken the public interest. In the words of the European Parliament (“EP“), whistleblowing represents a fundamental source of information in the fight against organised crime and corruption. Although some Member States have introduced whistle-blower protection systems, there is still room to increase the protection of whistle-blowers and, thus, reinforce this mechanism which has proven to be a key instrument for fighting against highly detrimental illicit conducts.

To the above extent, in June 2017 the EP proposed a Draft Report on legitimate measures to protect whistle-blowers acting in the public interest when disclosing the confidential information of companies and public bodies (2016/2224(INI)) which seeks a two-fold purpose: promote awareness of the importance of whistle-blowers and protect them to the greatest extent possible.

It is believed that a significant number of individuals, who may play an essential role in providing information to combat crime within their companies, remain silent for fear of retaliation because of lack of anonymity. The EP calls on each Member State to give psychological, legal and financial support to whistle-blowers who report unlawful activities at their place of work. Furthermore, it strongly recommends instituting an independent body where all whistle-blower’s claims would be centralised. This body would be responsible for processing the claims, verifying their authenticity and offering support to whistle-blowers.

The report is awaiting the decision of the Committee on Legal Affairs of the EP to be issued on 2 October and, if approved, it may represent a further step in the fight against organised crime and corruption.

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* This article is current as of the date of its publication and does not necessarily reflect the present state of the law or relevant regulation.

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