Commission must put forward proposals to help protect whistle-blowers in the EU

Whistleblowers who expose misuse of EU funds must be protected by EU law, #TaxJustice, Inés Ayala Sender, Luxleaks or Panama Paper scandals, Cătălin Sorin Ivan, European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF),

The S&D Group has called on the European Commission to put forward new proposals to protect whistle-blowers in the EU exposing illegal or unethical activities.

Evelyn Regner, the S&D spokesperson for legal affairs said:

"The revelations stemming from the Panama Papers have again shown the vital role that whistle-blowers play in our societies. People who expose illegal activity, government or employer misconduct should be celebrated not prosecuted. They help to ensure that the powerful are held to account for their actions. In doing so they often put their own jobs, careers and even freedom at risk. It is therefore vital that individuals acting for the common good are given adequate protection under EU law."

"The S&D Group supports a clear legal framework that guarantees that those exposing illegal or unethical activities are protected from retaliation or prosecution. We are calling on the Commission to treat this as a matter of urgency and put forward new proposals as soon as possible."

Sergio Cofferati, the S&D co-ordinator for the report on Trade Secrets being voted tomorrow by the European Parliament, said:

"There has been criticism from some other groups and journalists that this new law could be used to prevent employees and journalists from exposing wrongdoings in the work place. We need to be very clear - both whistle-blowers and journalists are very clearly exempted from the scope of this law. If this was not crystal clear in the text then we would not be voting in favour of it. The exception explicitly states that it applies not only to those exposing illegal activity but also misconduct or wrongdoing provided they acted for the purpose of protecting the general public interest.

"However it is not enough that whistle-blowers are exempted from this particular law, as we have seen they can still be prosecuted under different national or EU laws. Therefore, we need the Commission to put forward new proposals designed specifically to guarantee that those exposing misconduct are fully protected in the EU."

Note for Editors

See the full text of the exception in question here