French Assembly Member Ugo Bernalicis Calls for Increased Whistleblower Protections at National Whistleblower Day

On July 29, Ugo Bernalicis, Member of the French Assembly and the left-wing political party La France Insoumise, gave the opening remarks at the second day of the National Whistleblower Center’s annual National Whistleblower Day celebration. Bernalicis spoke of the need for increased whistleblower protections in France.

“I have received many testimonies from whistleblowers who particularly affected me,” stated Bernalicis. “In a word, I did not come out unscathed from my meetings with all these whistleblowers, and I want to propose effective solutions to put an end to their ordeal.”

Bernalicis touched upon the EU Directive on whistleblowing. The EU Whistleblower Directive, passed in October 2019, mandated that all EU member nations pass whistleblower laws in accord with the provisions of the directive. Bernalicis notes that in transposing the law, France took some added measures to protect whistleblowers, including clarifying the definition of whistleblower and simplifying reporting channels for whistleblower disclosures.

“However, is this new legislative framework enough? Bernalicis asked after explaining France’s transposition of the directive. “Certainly not!” he answered emphatically.

Bernalicis then went on to explain the legislative reforms for which he is currently pushing. One such reform is the institution of financial compensation for whistleblowers. “Financial assistance must be provided to whistleblowers,” Bernalicis stated. “This remains essential and the legislative framework does not allow it yet. This is an essential condition for me.”

“It is also necessary to strengthen the range of individualized solutions to be provided to whistleblowers,” Bernalicis continued. “Providing access to legal aid regardless of income, fully subscribing to the personal training account, offering psychological support, creating an easier path to employment, etc.”

According to Bernalicis, “The second [reform] is about the priority of effective rights by giving the necessary means to the Defender of Rights, which is the independent structure in charge of the issue of whistleblowers in particular.”

“It is necessary to create an inspection of whistleblowers, directly attached to the Defender of Rights, whose mission would be to take charge of the alert, and to accompany the one who launches it, with the help of specialized thematic commissions,” Bernalicis stated.

On July 28, U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) gave the keynote speech at the first day of the National Whistleblower Day celebration. Grassley called for increased whistleblower protections in the U.S. In particular he highlighted reform bills increasing protections for money-laundering whistleblowers, IRS whistleblowers, and FBI whistleblowers.

National Whistleblower Day continues on July 30.

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