EU Action on Whistleblower Protection

The S&D welcomes the introduction of whistleblowers protection in the Commission’s Annual Work Programme. Without the European Parliament and trade unions repeatedly asking for EU-wide whistleblower protection, this would have never happened.

Last week, the S&D Group organised a conference together with policy-makers, civil society and journalists.

Raphael Halet, one of the LuxLeaks whistleblowers spoke about his own story:

I was deeply moved by his account, that he felt he was ignored and alone. Being left out by society, not getting support from authorities. He was forced to sell his car to pay the horrendous legal fees. He shouldn´t feel left out, or excluded or punished for his actions. We, Social Democrats, won´t give up until we have an adequate protection for him and his peers. And this should include the security of their jobs and compensation for legal expenses and losses of income.

Our democratic society is dependent on courageous and brave whistleblowers who shine a light on shady practices or illegal dealings: on people who denounce drawbacks, people who act clearly in the public interest and risk their own reputation and their economic existence to do the right thing. However, far too often those that expose wrongdoing are the ones who face trials and punishment, while the perpetrators continue their work without sanctions. Many times the revelations have effects across borders, but there are currently no measures at EU level to encourage those with information to pass it on. Whistleblowers need to feel safe and they need to have legal clarity. Protecting jobs and conditions of employment and remuneration for arising expenses are important issues.

Currently, a few Member States do protect whistleblowers but others do not. This is a fragmentation which we can only end with EU-wide protection, so whistleblowers can continue to help journalists uncovering information that would otherwise be swept under the rug.

The EU must go beyond nice words and ensure effective protection of those who denounce dodgy dealings, how act for the good of society and risk their own reputation and economic existence, and sometimes even their freedom.

Without the determination of the whistleblowers and commitment of the journalists who have been working on the documents, the citizens of Europe would not have seen the important debates and progress in the fields of tax policy in the last 18 months. Words must be backed up by actions and political measures. Whistleblowers risk their own lives and governments sit idely by. It is up to Members of the European Parliament to react. We are currently fighting against tax evasion and trying close tax loopholes in the PANA inquiry committee. Profits must be taxed where they are earned. Those who risk their livelihoods to bring evasion and corruption to light must be protected. The political will exists. We have momentum and we should use it.