EU Whistleblowing Meter – October Roundup

October 30, 2020
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This is our fourth monthly roundup of updates provided by the EU Whistleblowing Meter team of country editors detailing national developments in the transposition of the EU Directive on Whistleblowing during October 2020. 
As of today, there are just 13 months and 17 days until the deadline for transposition of the EU Whistleblowing Directive.
Transposition of the EU Whistleblowing Directive is underway in at least 15 Member States, with Romania moving from ‘in progress’ this month. 12 Member States remaining listed as ‘not started.’  
Country Updates:

In Germany, a joint position paper of Reporters Without Borders and Whistleblowerz-Netzwerk e.v. has been published.  The report makes key recommendations for transposition of the Directive to prioritise freedom of expression and freedom of the press and warns against blanket exceptions for classified information.  It also calls for digital source protection and an extension of the material scope beyond breaches of Union law, which is currently a point of contention for German officials, read more here

An open letter warning of the risks of a verbatim transposition of the Directive was published by a coalition of civil society organisations in August. The German Trade Union Confederation has also published a report making 53 detailed recommendations for the implementation of the Directive to create a comprehensive and coherent legal framework. 

In Czechia, the Ministry of Justice has submitted the Draft Law on the Protection of Whistleblowers to the Government on Sept. 30, 2020. The Governmental Legislative Council and its individual working commissions have 60 days to review it. The meeting of the Governmental Working Committee for Whistleblowing as well as the meeting of the Government Council for the Coordination of the Fight against Corruption are planned to discuss the Draft and the comments of the Governmental Legislative Council later on in November.

Transparency International Portugal has responded to public consultation on the countries national strategy to combat Corruption, which includes new mechanism to protect whistleblowers. They point out the proposals do not go far enough to meet the requirements of the Directive. 

Following the establishment of a working group on transposition in Romania, Transparency International Romania has launched a Business Integrity Country Agenda research report which makes recommendations for whistleblowing protection, see here

In Slovenia, after several delays, the National Assembly has, passed amendments to the Integrity and Prevention of Corruption Act. Transparency International Slovenia have expressed that the changes do not go far enough to meet the requirements of the Directive and have publicly called for a progressive transposition, see here
In Austria, a campaign has been launched to address transposition of the Directive and pushing for extension of provisions to cover national law, see here

The Ministry of Justice of Estonia has sent its intention to draft a Bill on whistleblower protection to other ministries and relevant stakeholders. The proposals are for a new horizontal law which would widen the scope of the Directive. Transparency International Estonia has published a position paper on the proposal and official positions of other stakeholders can be found here

In Croatia, the Ombudsman has joined the Network of European Integrity and Whistleblowing Authorities (NEIWA) which encourage cooperation of state institutions and the consistent application of the Directive. 

Resources and Events:
The Network of European Integrity and Whistleblowing Authorities (NEIWA), which met in June 2020, has published it’s Rome Declaration which makes ten recommendations for governments to implement the Directive, including to consider various types of interim measures withing the workplace to avoid negative consequences for whistleblowers. 
An interesting article published on 30 September 2020 by Dimitrios Kafteranis, Country Editor for Greece ‘Enforcing EU Law: the case of the Whistle- blower’ which discussed the importance of the Directive, can be read here
Two helpful resources concerning the implementation of GDPR Rules in a whistleblowing legislation: 
The French data protection authorities opinion and Guidelines on processing personal information within a whistleblowing procedure, a 2019 report of the European Data Protection Supervisor (prior to the adoption of the Directive) which sets out some helpful points regarding confidentiality regimes. 
International law firm Kohn, Kohn & Calapinto has published a memorandum of best practices on how to implement the Directive has been sent to Belguim, Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Latvia and Slovenia. 
The second virtual symposium on ‘The EU Whistleblowers Directive: Transposition Imperative for Ireland’ will take place on 11 November: see here
You can find this information, as well as our previous monthly roundups on the EU Whistleblowing Meter Blog page or the WIN News page.