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Council Presidency seeks Member States' views on whistleblower protection
30.3.17
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The Maltese Presidency of the Council of the EU is seeking the views of other Member States on the issue of whistleblower protection, inviting them to contribute to an ongoing European Commission consultation on the topic. The note, classified as LIMITE but published here, notes that protecting whistleblowers can contribute to "safeguarding the public interest, reinforcing integrity, transparency and accountability in both public and private organisations."

The Presidency's note, which was discussed by national justice ministers during a "working lunch" at their meeting on 28 March, states:

"Protection of whistleblowers against retaliation can contribute to safeguarding the public interest, reinforcing integrity, transparency and accountability in both public and private organisations, strengthening compliance with the law as well as freedom of expression, enshrined in Article 11 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.

(...)

EU law already contains rules protecting whistleblowers from retaliation in different areas... However, unevenness and fragmentation of whistleblower protection across the EU can have negative impacts on the functioning of the internal market, workers' well-being, freedom of expression, as well as the fight against fraud and corruption and against tax evasion.

(...)

Member States are kindly invited to provide detailed input by responding to the public
consultation."

It goes on to set out "questions for discussion", focusing on "What would you consider as a useful function of whistleblower protection in your national context?" and "On the basis of your national experience, what elements would you consider as "good practices" in terms of whistleblower protection in your country?"

The European Parliament called in February for the European Commission to adopt an “effective and comprehensive European whistle-blower protection programme” in relation to whistleblowing regarding fraud against the EU budget.

See: MEPs call for EU-wide protection for whistle-blowers (press release, pdf) and: European Parliament resolution of 14 February 2017 on the role of whistleblowers in the protection of EU’s financial interests (pdf)

The European Commission consultation on the topic closes on 29 May: Public consultation on whistleblower protection (European Commission, link):

"The consultation will enable to collect information, views and experiences on the benefits and drawbacks of whistleblower protection; on the elements that are important for effective whistleblower protection; on problems arising both at national and EU level from gaps and weaknesses of existing whistleblower protection and from the divergences of protection across the EU, as well as on the need for minimum standards of protection."

See also

Spain: Proposed law on whistleblowing and corruption "perverse, megalomaniacal and authoritarian" (Statewatch News Online, 30 March 2017)

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