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🚨🇪🇺 EU Whistleblowing Meter October Round-up 🇪🇺🚨

Oct 29, 2020

This is our fourth monthly roundup of updates provided by the EU Whistleblowing Meter team of country editors detailing national developments in the transposition of the EU Directive on Whistleblowing during October 2020. 
 
As of today, there are just 13 months and 17 days until the deadline for transposition of the EU Whistleblowing Directive.
 
Transposition of the EU Whistleblowing Directive is underway in at least 15 Member States, with Romania moving from ‘in progress’ this month. 12 Member States remaining listed as ‘not started.’  
 
Country Updates:

2020-10-23: In Germany, a joint position paper of Reporters Without Borders and Whistleblowerz-Netzwerk e.v. has been published.  The report makes key recommendations for transposition of the Directive to prioritise freedom of expression and freedom of the press and warns against blanket exceptions for classified information.  It also calls for digital source protection and an extension of the material scope beyond breaches of Union law, which is currently a point of contention for German officials, read more here

2020-10-23: An open letter warning of the risks of a verbatim transposition of the Directive was published by a coalition of civil society organisations in August.

2020-10-10: The German Trade Union Confederation has also published a report making 53 detailed recommendations for the implementation of the Directive to create a comprehensive and coherent legal framework. 

2020-10-06: In Czechia, the Ministry of Justice has submitted the Draft Law on the Protection of Whistleblowers to the Government on Sept. 30, 2020. The Governmental Legislative Council and its individual working commissions have 60 days to review it. The meeting of the Governmental Working Committee for Whistleblowing as well as the meeting of the Government Council for the Coordination of the Fight against Corruption are planned to discuss the Draft and the comments of the Governmental Legislative Council later on in November.

2020-10-23: Transparency International Portugal has responded to public consultation on the countries national strategy to combat Corruption, which includes new mechanism to protect whistleblowers. They point out the proposals do not go far enough to meet the requirements of the Directive. 

2020-10-19: Following the establishment of a working group on transposition in Romania, Transparency International Romania has launched a Business Integrity Country Agenda research report which makes recommendations for whistleblowing protection, see here

2020-10-12: In Slovenia, after several delays, the National Assembly has, passed amendments to the Integrity and Prevention of Corruption Act. Transparency International Slovenia have expressed that the changes do not go far enough to meet the requirements of the Directive and have publicly called for a progressive transposition, see here


2020-09-21: In Austria, a campaign has been launched to address transposition of the Directive and pushing for extension of provisions to cover national law, see here

2020-09-01: The Ministry of Justice of Estonia has sent its intention to draft a Bill on whistleblower protection to other ministries and relevant stakeholders. The proposals are for a new horizontal law which would widen the scope of the Directive. Transparency International Estonia has published a position paper on the proposal and official positions of other stakeholders can be found here

2020-07-30: In Croatia, the Ombudsman has joined the Network of European Integrity and Whistleblowing Authorities (NEIWA) which encourage cooperation of state institutions and the consistent application of the Directive. 

🚨🇪🇺 EU Whistleblowing Meter September Round-up 🇪🇺🚨

Oct 01, 2020

This is our third monthly roundup of updates provided by the EU Whistleblowing Meter team of country editors detailing developments in the transposition of the EU Directive on whistleblowing for September 2020.

As of today, there are just 14 months and 17 days until the deadline for transposition.

Transposition of the Directive remains ‘in progress’ for 14 countries with 13 Member States remaining listed as ‘not started.’

2020-09-25: An international online conference on Whistleblower Protection at Work in the Visegrad Group countries, France and Slovenia held by the University of Lodz took place on the 25 September 2020. Presentations were given by academics, public officials and civil society experts providing comparative analysis of the Directive and current national frameworks in France, Slovenia, Hungary, Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia – see full programme here. This was the first planned “WhistlePro” conference aimed at improving whistleblower protections in the region and a second event is scheduled to take place in Prague in June 2021. You can watch a recording of the conference here.An international online conference on Whistleblower Protection at Work in the Visegrad Group countries, France and Slovenia held by the University of Lodz took place on the 25 September 2020. Presentations were given by academics, public officials and civil society experts providing comparative analysis of the Directive and current national frameworks in France, Slovenia, Hungary, Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia – see full programme here. This was the first planned “WhistlePro” conference aimed at improving whistleblower protections in the region and a second event is scheduled to take place in Prague in June 2021. You can watch a recording of the conference here.

2020-09-11: Transparency International Greece have published a detailed Report ‘Effective Integration of the EU Directive on the Protection of Whistleblowers, Analysis and Proposals of DD-E” which contains several recommendations and has been sent to the Ministry of Justice and the Legislative Drafting Committee.

2020-09-03: Following criticism by civil society experts of the Draft law published in Czechia last month, the Ministry of Justice is now preparing for a more detailed impact assessment. You can read more about the concerns voiced by working group members that the Bill would not sufficiently protect whistleblowers, and lack of independence of the proposed agency and external reporting system here. Due to legislative timetables in Czechia, it is unlikely the Draft Law will pass during the current election period and therefore despite being comparatively further ahead in the transposition process until now, Czechia risks falling behind.

2020-08-25: In Cyprus, MP Irene Charalambidou has called for stronger whistleblowing protection in a recent speech which highlighted the lack of national whistleblowing protection mechanisms compared to other European states declaring that protecting whistleblowers was the only way to fight corruption in the country.

2020-07-23: Another Policy Paper has been published for Member States by key whistleblowing academics. “Transposing the EU Whistleblower Directive into National Law: What every policymaker should know” offers recommendations concerning the key aspects of implementation. The paper is written in the context of the government of Ireland's call for submissions but has relevance for advocacy in other Member States.

Transparency International Secretariat have now published their comprehensive tool “Assessing Whistleblowing Legislation: Methodology and Guidelines for Assessment against the EU Directive and Best Practice.” The tool Is designed to support policymakers and advocates to assess national legislation, draft laws and any amendments during the legislative process, to ensure optimal transposition of the Directive and to push for strong whistleblowing protection based on internationally recognised best practice.

🚨🇪🇺 EU Whistleblowing Meter August Round-up 🇪🇺🚨

Aug 31, 2020

This is our second detailed monthly roundup of updates provided by the EU Whistleblowing Meter team of country editors detailing national developments in the transposition of the EU Directive on Whistleblowing during August 2020.

As of today, there are just 15 months and 20 days until the deadline for transposition.

Transposition of the Directive is now updated to ‘in progress’ in Bulgaria, Czechia and Denmark pushing the total number to 14 – with 13 Member States remaining listed as ‘not started.’

2020-08-14: In Denmark, we see that Covid-19 Pandemic has slowed transposition process but that the Ministry of Justice have confirmed they plan to meet with stakeholders in Autumn 2020 and expect to have an implementation proposal ready in Spring 2021.

2020-07-31: Ongoing discussions continue in Bulgaria as to whether transposition requires the enactment of a standalone whistleblowing protection law or can be achieved through amendments to the current existing legal framework – a preliminary impact assessment is currently being drafted by a working group, which now includes input from civil society NGOs – including TI Bulgaria.

2020-07-30: Anticorruption NGOs in Czechia - Rekonstrukce státu (Frank Bold and Oživení) and Transparency International ČR - have published a paper analyzing the proposed new draft law from the Ministry of Justice which has also been criticized by opposition parties for providing only insufficient protection of whistleblowers.

🚨🇪🇺 EU Whistleblowing Meter July Round-up 🇪🇺🚨

Jul 31, 2020

This is our first detailed monthly round-up of updates provided by the EU Whistleblowing Meter team of country editors detailing national developments in the transposition of the EU Directive on Whistleblowing during July 2020.

As of today, there are just 16 months and 17 days until the deadline for transposition.

Transposition of the Directive is now updated to ‘in progress’ in Estonia and Slovenia pushing the total number to 11 – with 16 Member States remaining listed as ‘not started.’

2020-07-22: In Estonia, the Minister of Justice has made a public statement confirming preparations to develop a whistleblowing protection Bill to transpose the Directive.

2020-07-20: Ireland: In Ireland, Transparency International Ireland has shared their views with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform on Submission on the transposition of EU Whistleblowing Directive. TI Irelands’ submission responds to ten questions posed by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform on considerations for transposing the EU Whistleblowing Directive, and includes a number of additional recommendations to address existing shortcomings in the Protected Disclosures Act 2014 advocated for in previous submissions.

2020-07-03: In Slovenia, the Minister of Justice and State Secretary met with representatives of Transparency International. In a public report of the meeting , which took place on the 3rd of July, the ministry reiterated that transposition of the Directive was a priority and that a draft law is being intensively prepared by key members of the government and institutions. Whilst a draft law is therefore expected soon, there have been concerns that recent delays in passing amendments to address key loopholes in the national anti-corruption framework are evidence of a lack of political will for both these much-needed reforms and effective implementation of whistleblowing protection.

2020-07-02: In Spain, a coalition of more than 15 civil society organisations have published an open letter requesting a more participatory legislative process for transposition following the establishment of a working group which did not include input from civil society experts or of whistleblowers. Various draft proposals to transpose the Directive have already been presented in Spain with Congress recently blocking a draft initiative from a political party declaring the proposal ‘insufficient’ to protect whistleblowers, a move considered positive by experts who considered the proposal to be weak.

🚨🇪🇺 EU Whistleblowing Meter June Round-up 🇪🇺🚨

Jul 15, 2020

Sweden: Swedish Exploratory Committee delivers report with law proposals.
30/6/20

Greece: The government has established a special legal drafting committee for the preparation of a draft law on the transposition of the EU Directive on Whistleblowing.
20/6/20

Spain: Spanish Congress blocks "insufficient" whistleblowing protection law.
18/6/2020

Ireland: Public Consultation on the transposition of EU Whistleblowing Directive.
8/6/20

PRESS RELEASE: EU Whistleblowing Meter Launched to Monitor Transposition of EU Directive on Whistleblowing

Jul 08, 2020

NOW is the time for every European government to protect whistleblowers!

In April 2019, the European Parliament adopted a game-changing Directive designed to protect whistleblowers across Europe. Once the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament approved the new law, it came into force on 16 December 2019. Twenty-seven countries have until the end of 2021 to transpose these far-reaching provisions into their own legal and institutional systems. This is where reality hits. Now the true commitment of governments to protect those who speak up in the public interest in Europe will be put to the test!

Today, on World Whistleblowing Day, 23 June, the Whistleblowing International Network along with its many partners and colleagues across Europe are launching the EU Whistleblowing Meter to track the progress of transposition in each country. This is a singular opportunity for European nations to reinforce their democratic foundations and implement truly progressive, coherent, and consistent whistleblower rights across Europe that serve the interests of all.

European civil society has long understood that whistleblowing is about ensuring the right information gets to the right place so that action can be taken and proper oversight ensues. Over the next 18 months, we will work with our team of voluntary country editors to document national progress on transposition to help everyone determine whether EU governments are living up to their obligations to protect whistleblowers. We will know whether countries are acting in good faith; consulting widely and openly to develop and adopt comprehensive legal and institutional whistleblower protection measures that reinforce good governance, hold decision-makers to account and allow for substantive civic engagement.

Anna Myers, Executive Director of WIN explains, “Whistleblower protection is only successful when civil society is fully engaged, keeping authorities accountable for their actions. The EU Whistleblowing Meter is a simple and effective way to monitor transposition. We need governments to get this right, especially now, as the crisis of COVID-19 reinforces the critical importance of information flowing freely to help us keep ourselves and our communities safe, and to prepare for a different future.”

Whistleblowing saves lives. Individuals are speaking out across Europe and around the world about the lack of protective equipment and systems to protect the health of front-line workers in medical and social care sectors, in transport, food supplies, and critical infrastructure and they are forcing governments to respond.

“Whistleblower protection is a workplace issue”, says Martin Jefflén, President of Eurocadres, the European trade union organisation of professionals and managers, and convener of the WhistleblowerProtection.EU coalition. “The EU Directive to protect whistleblowers was a huge step for Europe and now we need to make it work on the ground. Eurocadres is delighted to join WIN in supporting our trade union and wider coalition members in monitoring and advocating for whistleblower protections that go well beyond the minimum required and to secure stronger workers’ and trade union rights. It is a matter of social and economic well-being.”

Nick Aiossa, Deputy Director and Head of Political Integrity at Transparency International EU agrees. “We have 18 months to make the vital legal protections for whistleblowers that we worked so hard to achieve at EU level, really work in practice at national level. These are the same months that Europe will be easing the COVID-19 restrictions. More whistleblowers will be letting us know where and how the existing weaknesses in our systems were corrupted to siphon essential public funds away from those who needed them the most. The EU Whistleblowing Meter will help us demand the change we need across Europe to ensure we protect the whistleblowers who help us protect the public interest.”

The PDF of the press release can be found here.