Transparency International and Whistleblowing International Network launched Wednesday, 24th of March 2021, the Progress report on the transposition by the EU member-states of the Directive regarding whistleblower protection.
During the event were presented the best practices on transposing the EU Directive found by the experts involved and there were also presented the concerns on breaches of the deadline for transposition or faulty transposition of the European regulatory act.
The conference took place online, on Zoom, and among the experts who spoke were: Anna Myers, Whistleblowing International Network; Marie Terracol, Transparency International; Ida Nowers, Whistleblowing International Network; Georgia Georgiadou, Comisia Europeană; Radu Nicolae, Civic Network for Whistleblowing (CivicAIP) Romania; Wilbert Tomesen, Huis voor Klokkenluiders.
European Union has adopted in October 2019 the Directive (EU) 2019/1937 on the protection of persons who report breaches of Union law. The directive must be transposed within two years of its adoption and is not intended to diminish the legislative provisions of a state if they are more complex than the rules established in the European act.
Transparency International and Whistleblowing International Network analyzed the progress made by the 27 EU countries in the 14 months since the Directive was adopted. The Report also examines the level of transparency and inclusiveness provided by Member State governments in the transposition process.
The methodology used in drafting the Report was developed by Transparency International in order to help public institutions, civil society, journalists and other stakeholders to assess how national legislation stacks up against the requirements of the EU Directive on whistleblowing. It is a methodology that involves two stages, namely – stage 1: Compliance with the EU Directive and stage 2: Assessment against international best practices on whistleblowing and whistleblower protection. This tool allows assessment of current national legislation, as well as draft laws and amendments throughout the legislative process.
By 17th of February 2021, the date when the research was completed, two-thirds of the EU member states had made minimal or no progress toward transposing the Whistleblower Protection Directive, and it is uncertain whether any EU country will transpose the Directive by the December 2021 deadline.
Five countries have made limited progress towards transposition: Ireland, Estonia, Spain and France, with the launch of public consultations between June 2020 and early February 2021, and Denmark, which circulated a draft bill to some stakeholders outside government in December 2020.
Three EU member states have made moderate progress toward transposition (Latvia, the Netherlands and Sweden), with public consultations on draft bills.
One EU country has made substantive progress towards transposition: the Czech Republic introduced a bill on whistleblower protection into Parliament on 9 February 2021.
Without proper consultation with all relevant stakeholders, national legislation is unlikely to offer adequate protection to whistleblowers and improve the detection and tackling of wrongdoing in practice.
Romania status: minimal steps in the transposition process
In Romania, little information was available on the transposition process until the end of 2020. According to the Ministry of Justice, in charge of the process, an internal working group was formed at the beginning of 2020. In March 2021, the ministry launched a public consultation on a draft bill.
Regarding the transparency and inclusiveness, the transposition process has been opaque. At the beginning of 2021, it became inclusive.
No information had been made publicly available in 2020, other than a mention of the creation of the working group in the Ministry of Justice Progress Report on the Implementation of the National AntiCorruption Strategy, in April 2020. In December 2020, the Ministry of Justice organised a meeting with CSOs that are members of the Platform for the Implementation of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy to discuss the transposition process and the most challenging issues for the new law. At the meeting, CSOs were informed that the ministry had also contacted business associations and public authorities about these topics. In March 2021, in accordance with Romanian law, the ministry launched a public consultation on a draft bill, giving interested stakeholders three weeks to respond. Transparency International Romania sent to the Ministry of Justice a series of recommendations regarding the draft law.
Even if it seems that the deadline for transposing the Directive on the protection of whistleblowers into national law will not be met, this does not mean that Member States should speed up this process, risking omitting important steps and issues.
The transposition process should be transparent and include all key stakeholders. It is important that adequate public consultation, research and sufficient thought are brought to the drafting process, so that future legislation on the protection of whistleblowers to be comprehensive.
The member states should seize the opportunity offered by the transposition process to go further than the minimum standards in the Directive and adopt comprehensive national legislation that meets best practice and international standards.
The full report elaborated by Transparency International and Whistleblowing International Network is available below.
EU Governments Whistleblower Protection