S&Ds: Commission, act now! Whistleblowers deserve EU-wide protection

Protect whistle blowers text on whistle

The S&Ds presented today in the European Parliament’s legal affairs committee an important draft report on whistleblowers, a priority for our Group. Thanks to the S&D Group, high standards for the protection of whistleblowers were set, according to which whistleblowers exposing unethical or illegal activity in the EU, be it in the public or the private sector, have to be protected across the EU. The S&Ds also called on the Commission to put forward horizontal legislation.

S&D MEP and author of the report on whistleblowers, Virginie Rozière, said:

“Whistleblowers play a crucial role in highlighting unethical behaviours and exposing corruption of private and public entities across the EU and globally. The recent cases of the Panama Papers and LuxLeaks scandals are very much telling in this regard. However, there are many other examples where citizens spoke out to denounce a threat to public health, the environment, or misuse of public funds. Yet, notwithstanding their contribution to exposing wrongdoings that affect us all, and cost the European taxpayers millions of euros, whistleblowers are very often paid back with trials and sentences. At the same time, the real offenders can continue ‘business as usual’. This is unacceptable and must therefore end.

“Today, there is an urgent need for concrete, legal and comprehensive protection for whistleblowers in Europe. This draft report can be a great step forward and I hope that it will be supported across all political groups in the European Parliament. It recognises the role of whistleblowers and aims at ensuring protection for those who bravely reveal information on wrongdoings. Because we must protect those who protect us, the whistleblowers status should offer real guarantees.

“In this respect, the report calls on the European Commission to propose horizontal EU-wide legislation in order to ensure that whistleblowers acting in the public interest benefit from protection against retaliation and from specific support such as legal advice or financial help, if needed. When protecting whistleblowers, we also protect journalists and their sources, NGOs, freedom of speech and information. In a word, we protect democracy.”