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MEPs Seek Protection For Whistleblowers

by Ulrika Lomas,, Brussels

08 July 2016

Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have called for greater protection for whistleblowers who leak information in the public interest.

According to a parliamentary press release, "this was the key message voiced by many MEPs" during a July 6 debate with Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen and Ivan Korcok from the Slovak Presidency of the Council. The discussion focused on how to improve legal safeguards for people who reveal illegal or unethical activities in the public or private sectors.

The debate took place in response to the recent conviction of "Luxleaks" whistleblowers Antoine Deltour and Raphaël Halet by a Luxembourg court. Parliament said that most MEPs argued that further European Union (EU) legislation is needed to protect whistleblowers, including EU-wide rules to align and strengthen national laws.

Katainen said that whistleblowers play an important role in the fight against corruption and tax avoidance. He added that there should be a clear legal basis in order to protect them, and explained that the Commission "has already taken steps through sectoral legislation and guidelines to further enhance their status."

According to Katainen, the Commission is "currently assessing if more action on [an] EU level can be introduced."

Korcok noted that "in recent years, several developments have highlighted the importance of whistleblowers seeking to inform the general public of serious misconduct within different sectors."

He said that should the Commission propose new legislation "to further boost and protect the role of whistleblowers, the Council is ready to deal with it."

TAGS: court | compliance | tax | tax compliance | tax avoidance | law | banking | financial services | Luxembourg | legislation | European Union (EU) | services | Europe | BEPS

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