On Tuesday, December 14 at 12pm Eastern Standard Time, the National Whistleblower Center will host a LinkedIn Live event with Whistleblowing International. The discussion will focus on how European Union (EU) Member States have been faring in implementing the EU Whistleblower Directive.
The EU Whistleblower Directive, passed in October of 2019, mandates that all EU Member States implement whistleblower protection and anti-retaliation laws by December 17. Mark Worth, Executive Director of Whistleblowing International, has been tracking the Member States’ implementation of provisions to fulfill the Directive and expressed worry about the way in which some countries are working towards meeting the Directive. In a June 7 article, Worth wrote about the status of several Member States’ proposed whistleblower protection legislation and detailed some of the proposed laws’ flaws. On December 1, Worth wrote that as the deadline for the Directive is fast approaching, “at least seven European countries including Germany and Italy likely will fail to pass a new whistleblower law to comply with new EU rules.”
The LinkedIn Live event will focus “on how the EU has failed to adopt laws protecting and defending whistleblowers” as the clock ticks down to the Directive’s deadline, according to the event page. Viewers can visit the page at the designated event time and join – no need to register.
“I am looking forward to learning from Mark Worth and sharing insights about the value of global whistleblower protections,” Nelson told WNN. “The Biden Administration has made anti-corruption a major priority and as WNN covered, has highlighted the value of AML whistleblowers. It is critical that governments around the world take action to utilize the power whistleblowers can wield when they provide law enforcement with otherwise undetectable crimes. The EU whistleblower directive was incredibly promising, but the failure to adopt adequate laws has been a major disappointment.”
In anticipation of the live event, Nelson said she is “looking forward to diving into these issues with Mark, who is in the EU and had first hand knowledge of the process.” She hopes that the event will “broadens public understanding around this issue – especially in the EU, and pushes EU countries to institute effective whistleblower laws as soon as possible.”
Speaking to WNN, Worth said that it’s very important to note that only 2 of the 27 EU Member States will meet the deadline, Denmark and Sweden. It’s “disturbing” that these countries’ “commitment to whistleblowers is so weak,” Worth expressed, especially as the Member States have had over 2 years to implement whistleblower protection laws. Worth thought that by now, maybe half of the countries would have been on track to meet the deadline: thus, he’s frustrated that only 2 countries have met the deadline.
He notes that there is “no excuse for this long delay for missing the deadline,” especially as advocacy organizations like Whistleblowing International have sent justice ministries and parliaments materials and best practices for the agencies to consider when coming up with draft legislation. “Meanwhile the citizens are suffering because they’re not protected” as witnesses to crimes, Worth notes, saying that the countries are “legalizing witness intimidation and tampering by not banning whistleblower retaliation…They’re saying it’s ok to harass a crime witness, to fire a crime witness, to bully, prosecute a witness. These things are unthinkable.”
“We need to all work together to tell the lawmakers and the countries that we’re not happy with their lack of commitment and at the same time help them” to meet the Directive’s deadline, Worth says.