Is the European Commission increasing its pace in introducing horizontal whistleblower protection?
During the latest meeting of the European Parliament Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE), European Commissioner Vera Jourova has confirmed the finalizing of a legislative proposal on Europe-wide horizontal whistleblower protection measures. Commenting on the recent killing of investigative journalist Jan Kuciak in Slovakia and the planned introduction of a European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO), Jourova, stated:
“We have to be good on .. establishing the rule of law, we have to be good in establishing the EPPO, and also we have to be much better in protecting honest people, including the journalists, but also whistleblowers, and I can only inform you today that we are finalizing now the proposal for protecting whistleblowers, which will be legislation, which will be horizontal, and which I hope will increase the chances for honest people, in case they see some wrongdoing which is detrimental to public interest, to come and report and to have the guaranteed protection. I think that this is a very, very important plan.”
For many, this statement comes as a pleasant surprise. Following the execution of an Impact Assessment in 2017, whose results remain yet to be published, the Commission’s activities on the issue had seemed to stall.
Consequently, civil society and other and other supporters of the introduction of a European legal framework to protect whistleblowers had grown concerned that a legislative proposal on the matter would be either sectoral, or entirely postponed until after the elections of the European Parliament in 2019.
The commitment of Commissioner Jourova, who heads the Commission department Justice and Consumers (DG JUST) in charge of dealing with whistleblower protection, is an important step in the right direction.
The full meeting including Jourova's statement can be found here. The statement on a horizontal whistleblower directive leads in from at about 2.14 to about 2.16.
For a set arguments on why the introduction of whistleblower protection measures is a European matter and needs to be dealt with horizontally, please review “Why should the European Union protect Whistleblowers?”
Picture: © Flickr/EU2016 NL