In light of recent scandals such as Dieselgate, Luxleaks, the Panama Papers, and the Cambridge Analytica revelations, whistleblower protection has become a more prominent concern with calls for improvements in the degree of protection afforded to whistleblowers, in particular with respect of protecting whistleblowers against intimidation and/or retaliation.
On 23 April 2018, the European Commission proposed new rules to strengthen whistleblower protection across the European Union (“EU”).¹ On 8 October 2019, these new rules were adopted by the European Council.
The EU directive will ensure a high level of protection is granted for whistleblowers by establishing safe channels for reporting both within an organisation and to public authorities, thus setting new EU-wide rules. This new law will guarantee that the protection given to whistleblowers across the EU is even and united. It will also protect whistleblowers against dismissal or demotion and will call for national authorities to inform citizens and support training for public authorities on how to handle whistleblowers.
The EU directive covers protection for blowing the whistle on a number of breaches of EU legislation. Namely, in the fields of public procurement; financial services, money laundering and terrorist financing; product safety; transport safety; environmental protection; nuclear safety; food and feed safety, animal health and welfare; public health; consumer protection; privacy, data protection and security of networks and information systems. It will also apply to breaches of EU competition rules, violations and abuse of corporate tax rules and damage to the EU’s financial interests.