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European Union : whistleblowers….progress in small steps!
While the Trade Secrets Directive adopted in 2016 presented the most serious threats to whistleblowers, denounced by many rights organisations, the text to be put to the vote in the European Parliament and Council, in principle before the next elections, provides protection for those who selflessly disclose illegal activities that harm the general interest.
The facts denounced may concern in particular tax fraud, money laundering, public procurement, product safety, environmental protection, consumer protection, public health and the protection of personal data. However, questions relating to the defence and security of States, classified information, will remain excluded from the possibilities of reporting.
MEPs have fought to obtain the possibility for whistleblowers to be able to choose the recipients of their disclosures, they will not be required to report the offending facts as a priority in their companies or organisations, which is a guarantee for freedom of information. The text also provides protection against reprisals generally suffered by whistleblowers.
Only ten member countries currently grant protection to whistleblowers and if the Directive is adopted at the April session, it will still be necessary for each member country to transpose it into its legislation.
The AEDH can only welcome the forthcoming adoption of this text which is a step forward for the rights of whistleblowers on the one hand and for the general interest for the benefit of all European citizens.