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Members of the European Parliament's Budgetary Control Committee have called for an "effective and comprehensive European whistle-blower protection program."
The Committee said the package should be proposed "immediately" by the European Commission, and should include whistle-blower protection mechanisms for companies, public bodies, and non-profit organizations. It also advocated setting up an independent EU body, with offices in 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.
A further recommendation was for a temporary special unit to be established within the European Parliament, with dedicated facilities (such as hotlines, websites, and contact points) to receive information from whistle-blowers relating to the EU's financial interests. This unit would advise and protect whistle-blowers against potential retaliatory measures, until the independent EU-wide body is established. The Committee said that the Commission should likewise set up similar procedures for itself.
The recommendations were contained in a report drawn up by rapporteur Dennis de Jong, which was approved unanimously with 21 votes. De Jong said: "For the Committee on Budgetary Control, the role of whistle-blowers has been a matter of concern for many years – not only EU staff reporting irregularities, but also external whistle-blowers. Whereas the former are protected by EU staff regulations, the latter depend on the national legislation for their protection, if any at all."
"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."
The full Parliament will vote on the draft proposals on February 13.
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