Another significant date to fix in the European Union’s calendar should be the 12th of March 2019 when for the first time the Parliament and Council of the European Union have agreed to introduce a specific legislation regarding whistleblowers. After several rounds of negotiation, the European institutions have decided that time has come to offer legal protection for those employees who have the courage to blow the whistle on corruption and other wrongdoings they witness at the workplace in the entire Union
The ambitious draft have enlarged the protection for both the public and private sector employees, the so-called “whistleblowers”, who will also enjoy a clear meaning and definition. The expansion from public also to the private sector represents a big step, mostly because the privatisation process is rapidly growing and a lot of private companies that offer public services tend to be caught up in corruption.
Whistleblowers are often perceived as a threat to corporate interests and they tend to face retaliation and other negative consequences from speaking out. Their acts to disclose the corruption in their workplace is often labeled as “snitching”, but what would you do if you’d be witnessing your co-workers using company’s money for their own benefit?
“It takes two flints to make a fire” as the writer Louisa May Alcott affirmed, our modern society too needs to start from individuals in order to burn the corruption from its roots.
Financially, the European Union is losing every year 120 billions euros due to corruption, money that can be invested into important matters like education, road infrastructures, public health and so. This is one of the main reasons why many individual whistleblowers, along with a great number of NGOs have fought to have this Directive. And they succeeded to made the EU listen to their requirements.
Next procedural steps are for the European Parliament to approve new directive in a plenary meeting and for the Member States to transpose it in their national legislation within two years. This has to happen before the end of April 2019, as after this moment the European Parliament will suspend all legislation-making activities pending elections. After that, all EU Member States’ citizens will benefit from this new defence mechanism that the Directive is providing.
The agreement on this directive highlights that the principles of democracy and transparency are not being forgotten and it encourages citizens to fight corruption and take action.