New whistleblowing guidelines for EU officials

Brussels, 06 December 2012. The European Commission today published a new set of guidelines for EU officials who wish to expose what they may see as mismanagement, fraud or corruption.

People who ‘blow the whistle’ play an essential role in the detection of wrongdoing, and the whistleblower’s right to speak up is closely related to rights in freedom of expression as well as to the principles of transparency and accountability. Effective whistleblowing guidelines encourage open and accountable workplaces.

Jana Mittermaier of Transparency International’s EU office in Brussels welcomed the announcement, saying that, “Whistleblowing is an important element of any organisation’s internal integrity systems and thus in the fight against corruption.”

She pointed out that whistleblowers often take on a high level of personal risk, making it imperative that the rules governing protection function not only in word but in deed. She stated, “In addition to the guidelines, real political will and capacities from the institution are needed to provide the full protection that whistleblowers should have and need to receive in order to feel safe and secure.”

Transparency International emphasises that lack of whistleblowing legislation can severely weaken the integrity and openness of government. A report entitled ‘Money, Politics, Power’ (http://www.transparency.org/enis/report) published in 2012 pointed out that of the 25 European countries assessed, only six have dedicated whistleblower legislation – Hungary, the Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Switzerland and the UK – and in all but two of the countries assessed (Norway and the UK), whistleblowers do not have sufficient protection from reprisals in practice.

The new whistleblowing guidelines for EU staff members can be found at:
http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-12-1326_en.htm?locale=en

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