[Lettre ouverte] Making whistleblowing work for Europe

La Maison des Lanceurs d’Alerte s’associe à cette lettre ouverte co-signée par plusieurs dizaines d’organisations européennes.


In an open letter 79 signing organisations urge the EU Council to adopt the Parliament’s position on reporting channels. The whistleblower protection directive is currently in trilogue. The signatories express serious concerns about the reporting channels regime in the Council and Commission positions in these negotiations.

Making whistleblowing work for Europe

The EU is poised to take a momentous step and adopt a new directive to protect whistleblowers across Europe. This could have a dramatic impact on the capacity and ability of whistleblowing to work in all our interests. We know that protecting those who speak up in the public interest saves lives, protects our environment, reveals and stops corruption, and stems the huge financial losses to business and governments that result from failures to address wrongdoing.

February 12, 2019

It is vital that an EU Directive on the protection of whistleblowers protects the free flow of information necessary for responsible exercises of institutional authority. This is why we, the undersigned, have come together to urge the EU Council to do the right thing – and adopt the Parliament’s position on the reporting channels.

Protecting disclosures made outside the employment relationship is at the heart of providing real whistleblower protection. It must be understood that in doing so:

  • It allows law enforcement and regulatory bodies to do their jobs properly;
  • It is the vital safety net for protecting the public interest and the public’s right to know when organisations are corrupt or fail to take responsibility;
  • It ensures employers take seriously their responsibility to make it safe and acceptable to report internally; and
  • There is no evidence this undermines internal channels as the genuine first port of call for individuals
  • It protects freedom of expression;

As it stands, we are very concerned that the EU is about to agree a directive that will dangerously reinforce the status quo and make it even harder for individuals to report breaches of law and wrongdoing.

It is right that organisations across all sectors are encouraged to take steps that make it easier and safer for those who work with them to report concerns, but it is essential that competent regulatory and law enforcement authorities have access to the information they need to fulfil their mandates. By making it mandatory to report to the employer first – and obligatory to use the channel employers are required to set up with only risky and uncertain exceptions – the directive unwittingly builds in information control systems that will both hamper internal good management and make certain responsible disclosures to competent authorities illegal.

If this mandatory internal disclosure regime stands, the directive will have abandoned responsible Europeans who raise concerns appropriately to their employers through their supervisors or normal management channels of communication, who disclose information to competent authorities who have the power and mandate to address wrongdoing, or who provide information to the journalists who investigate and report in the public interest. They will suffer. Europe will suffer.

We remind the EU institutions, in trilogue negotiations right now, that their promise to better protect whistleblowers across Europe requires taking democratic accountability seriously. Regulatory authorities, governments and businesses across Europe are actively seeking information from those who speak up so that they can better protect and deliver services and protect the rights of the communities they serve.

The EU has a moral and legal responsibility to adopt a directive that builds on the Council of Europe Recommendation and international best practice consensus that protects the voluntary choice of channels for those who disclose wrongdoing.

Thank you for your time in this matter.


  • Access Info Europe
  • Akademikerne, The Danish confederation of professional associations
  • Anti Corruption International
  • APADOR-CH, The Association for the Defence of Human Rights in Romania – the Helsinki Committee
  • APJA, Association of Professional Journalists of Albania
  • ARTICLE 19
  • ASEBLAC, Asociación Española de Sujetos Obligados en Prevención del Blanqueo de Capitales
  • Associated Whistleblowing Press (AWP)
  • Association for Accountancy & Business Affairs, UK
  • Association of Hungarian Journalists (MUOSZ)
  • Blueprint for Free Speech
  • Center for Independent Journalism
  • Centre for Free Expression, Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada
  • CFDT Cadres, Confédération française démocratique du travail Cadres
  • Corporate Europe Observatory
  • CREW – Centre for Research on Employment and Work, University of Greenwich
  • Deutscher Journalisten-Verband
  • EPSU, The European Federation of Public Service Unions
  • Estonian Association of Journalists
  • Eurocadres, Council of European Professional and Managerial Staff
  • Eurodad, European Network on Debt and Development
  • Eurogroup for Animals
  • European Federation of Journalists
  • FABI, Federazione Autonoma Bancari Italiani
  • FAPE Spain, La Federación de Asociaciones de Periodistas de España
  • FH, Danish Trade Union Confederation
  • FIBGAR, Fundación Internacional Baltasar Garzón
  • FNV, Dutch trade union federation
  • Free Press Unlimited
  • Government Accountability Project
  • Hungarian Press Union
  • Independent Organized Crime Research Network for Law Enforcement Officers & Academics
  • Independent Trade Union of Journalists and Media Workers
  • Journalists’ Union of Macedonia and Thrace Daily Newspapers – Greece
  • Maison des Lanceurs d’Alerte
  • National Whistleblower Center
  • News Media Europe
  • Open Society Initiative for Europe (OSIFE)
  • Oživení o. s.
  • Panhellenic Federation Unions Journalist
  • PCS, Public and Commercial Services Union
  • Protect
  • Public Services International (PSI)
  • Reporters Without Borders
  • Riparte il futuro
  • shoeman.eu/
  • Stefan Batory Foundation
  • Swedish Union of Journalists
  • Tax Justice Network
  • Tax Justice UK
  • Tax Research LLP
  • TCO, The Swedish Confederation of Professional Employees
  • The Ethicos Group
  • The European Centre for Press and Media Freedom
  • The Signals Network
  • Transparency International
  • Transparency International Denmark
  • Transparency International Estonia
  • Transparency International EU
  • Transparency International France
  • Transparency International Greece
  • Transparency International Ireland
  • Transparency International Italia
  • Transparency International Latvia (Delna)
  • Transparency International Nederland
  • Transparency International Portugal (TI-PT)
  • Transparency International Romania
  • Transparency International Slovakia
  • Transparency International Slovenia
  • Transparency International Spain
  • UGICT CGT, Union Générale des Ingénieurs, Cadres et Techniciens
  • União Geral de Trabalhadores
  • Union Journalists’ of Turkey
  • Union of Journalists in Finland
  • UTC-UGT, Unión de Técnicos y Cuadros
  • VVJ/AVBB, Vlaamse Vereniging van Journalisten
  • Whistleblower Network Germany
  • Whistleblowing International Network
  • Xnet


Crédit photo : Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash.




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