EP Committee Vote on Whistleblower Directive
On 20 November 2018, MEPs from the Legal Affairs Committee (JURI) adopted their position on the Commission proposal for a directive on the protection of whistleblowers (COM(2018) 218 final, see eucrim 1/2018, p. 27).
Parliamentarians broadly backed the legislation guaranteeing that whistle-blowers in the EU can report breaches of EU law in the areas of tax evasion, corruption, environmental protection, and public health and safety without fear of retaliation or intimidation. Legal Affairs MEPs agreed that the same protection measures must also apply to facilitators, i.e. persons who assist the reporting person, e.g. journalists. Other main issues of the MEPs’ amendments concerned the following:
¡ Introduction of timeframes, i.e. reporting avenues should ensure that the reporting person is notified of receipt of his/her within a week of submission; follow-up on the report should be received no later than two months after receipt of the report;
¡ No strict tiered approach: it should be up to the reporting person to choose the most appropriate channel to report, whether internal or external, depending on the circumstances;
¡ Member States should provide information and advice free of charge as well as legal, financial, and psychological support.
The draft legislation was put forward to the plenary on 27 November 2018. Once the plenary has endorsed the EP position, negotiating talks with the Council can start.
EUROCADRES, the trade union organisation representing professionals and managers, warmly welcomed the MEPs’ position. In particular, they agreed with the aim of including reporting on the violation of workers’ rights and protecting persons supporting whistleblowers, such as those working in NGOs.