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Whistleblower directive agreement – a blow for France

Luxleaks's whistleblower Antoine Deltour was prosecuted after leaking proofs of unfair tax regime offered by Luxembourg.

The European Parliament has set rules for a strong protection for whistleblowers, a blow for BusinessEurope – and France.

“It’s the demonstration of the value-added that can be brought by the European Parliament”. For French MEP Virginie Rozière (S&D), author of the report on the whistle-blowers directive, the trilogue agreement found on 11 March is a great victory.

It also has been a long fight against her own country. The member states agreement is a blow for the French government who tried to undermine the EP’s work on the subject, and to lighten whistle-blowers protection.

The directive was drafted by the Commission and enhanced by the European Parliament. The main idea was to better protect interns, workers and contractors who reveal sensitive information from companies that may be of interest for the whole society.

The Parliament suggested allowing whistle-blowers to use whatever channel they may like to spread the information they found.

In January, as the final discussion began, France argued that whistle-blowers should first report their findings inside the company they were working for. An absurd move, that could even be dangerous according for some.

According to Le Monde, France has been supporting a stance close to the one from BusinessEurope for a long time, with the support of Poland and Austria, two countries whose governments are criticized as illiberal by the European Commission.

In the end, Germany changed his mind and stopped supporting France on the subject. 

“We saw a lot of people, even from the Bundestag. The unity of the EP trilogue team allowed us to win: our report had a very strong  support, and this helped a lot”, Virginie Rozière argued.

Private companies and public entities now will have to put in place internal reporting mechanisms and member states will have to designate public authorities in charge of receiving and handling reports.

For France, it’s a blow : the Sapin 2 law will have to be reviewed as it does not give as much rights as the directive asks for.

” We are finally putting an end to the present legal patchwork across the EU; but instead, we are setting up coherent and effective mechanisms.” MEP Jean-Marie Cavada (ALDE) said.

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