Sven Giegold

Victory for the protection of whistleblowers

Whistleblowers should be better protected in the future. The European Commission presented its draft directive today. It takes up key demands of the Greens/EFA Group, which took the initiative for better protection of whistleblowers against the background of the trial against the LuxLeaks whistleblower Antoine Deltour on 4 May 2016. Greens/EFA had also presented an own draft proposal in May 2017. The proposal has yet to be adopted by the European Parliament and the Council of Member States.


Sven Giegold, European Parliament rapporteur for transparency, accountability and integrity in the EU institutions and financial and economic policy spokesperson of the Greens/EFA group, welcomes the proposal:

“This is the breakthrough for the protection of whistleblowers in Europe. The criminalisation of revelations for the common good must come to an end. Now, those who protect the common good with their discoveries should finally be better protected. The EU Commission is choosing the right way to protect whistleblowers both in the public and the private sector. The broad scope of whistleblower protection is an important element of the proposal. It is true that whistleblowers in sensitive areas such as the financial sector, competition law, consumer protection, health, the environment and data protection should be protected. Unfortunately, the draft directive is limited to the violation of European law.

The proposal still leaves room for improvement. The protection of whistleblowing in the area of workers’ rights is missing. We understand that to do so would require additional legislative action, but this is too important an area to go unprotected. Whistleblowers will be protected in exposing tax evasion by large companies, but not by rich individuals. Protection must not depend on whether whistleblowers have previously used internal complaint channels. The Commission already provides for important exceptions in the event that official investigations would be compromised or the public interest is seriously harmed. However, whistleblowers must not be deterred by difficult demonstrations of proof in long trials. Because whistleblowers often get into financial difficulties after their revelations, they should also be offered support in this respect. This requires a European fund to compensate whistleblowers. The EU Commission should now take the next step and negotiate with the national governments on jurisdiction.

The ball is now in the Council’s court. The Parliament has supported strong whistleblower protection. We now need a large campaign to convince each member state so that the proposal can still be agreed before the European elections.”



The Commission proposal:

The Greens/EFA draft directive, which was updated earlier this month, is available here:

examples of recent whistleblowers from all EU Member States:

background on LuxLeaks whistleblower Antoine Deltour:

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