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MEPs call for protection for whistleblowers

10 January 2017, 00:10 CET
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MEPs call for protection for whistleblowers

Photo © European Union 2016 - Source EP

(BRUSSELS) - A committee of the European Parliament called on the Commission Monday to urgently propose an "effective and comprehensive European whistleblower protection programme".

The Committee on Budgetary Control, which approved the report unanimously with 21 votes, said the programme should include whistleblower protection mechanisms for companies, public bodies and non-profit organisations.

MEPs also advocated the setting up of an independent EU body, with offices in the EU Member States, to help internal and external whistle-blowers to use "the right channels to disclose their information on possible irregularities" affecting the EU's financial interests.

The role of whistleblowers has been a matter of concern to the committee for many years, said Parliament's rapporteur Dennis de Jong MEP - not only EU staff reporting irregularities, but also external whistleblowers: "whereas the former are protected by EU staff regulations, the latter depend on the national legislation for their protection, if any at all" he said.

"The situation varies from member state to member state. Hence the need for a legislative instrument as well as an independent European institution protecting external whistle-blowers too," he added.

MEPs also called for a special unit to be established within the European Parliament, with dedicated facilities (i.e. hotlines, websites, and contact points) to receive information from whistleblowers relating to the financial interests of the Union.

The unit would also advise and help protect whistleblowers against any possible retaliatory measures, until the above-mentioned independent EU body is established. They also urge the EU Commission to set up similar procedures for itself.

The full house of the EU Parliament is now set to vote on the draft proposals in February.

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