Why Eurowhistle Portal has been set up?

Whistleblowers contribute fundamentally to the detection of non-compliance and irregularities in various organizations worldwide. In doing so, they make an enormous contribution to organizational ethics and integrity and thus making our world a better place. Yet they are often at the mercy of retaliation. It is therefore in the interest of all of us to fully protect whistleblowers. However, protection can only be guaranteed if it is anchored in hard law and if organizations set up appropriate whistleblowing management systems.

Unfortunately, with a few exceptions, the member states of the European Union have so far been reluctant to enacting comprehensive protection of whistleblowers and to encourage or even obligate organizations to establish whistleblowing management systems. In view of this, the European Union took the initiative and enacted on 23 October 2019 the “Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Protection of persons who report breaches of Union law” (shortly hereafter – EU Whistleblowing Directive). The deadline for transposition into the national law orders of Member States expired on 17 December 2021.

A legal act of the European Union in the form of a directive applies in principle directly only to the Member States and to the citizens only when it is transposed into national law. The advantage of the directive is that the Member States can take national circumstances into account in the course of implementation. The EU legislator exploited this advantage in the EU Whistleblowing Directive, with the result that the Member States were granted discretion for implementation in a number of rules of the EU Whistleblowing Directive.

In this specific case, however, the advantage of a directive has become a disadvantage in the matter: It is already becoming apparent that the use of various implementation discretions has led to the different level of protection of whistleblowers and to different requirements for the design of whistleblowing management systems in different . This poses practical challenges especially for those organizations that pursuit their activities in several Member States and thus have to comply with the different legal requirements.

To help overcome these challenges, this EUROWHISTLE provides the first general overview of how certain regulations, where discretion was granted to the Member States, have been implemented in specific Member States of the EU. This allows interested persons to quickly gain an initial overview. Certainly, however, EUROWHISTLE can only provide a rough and non-binding overview and cannot replace legal advice in individual cases.