A proposed system to protect persons reporting breaches of EU law – known as whistleblowers – could increase their legal rights in all Member States and give citizens a central role in ensuring EU rules are applied in the context of their work, according to a new Opinion from the European Court of Auditors. The auditors give the proposal a warm welcome, although they note that in some cases it may be too complex to be fully effective.
In April 2018, following a number of high-profile cases, the European Commission proposed a Directive on the protection of whistleblowers, which is currently being considered by the European Parliament and the Council.
The auditors consider that the proposed system would help improve the management of EU policies and programmes, as a complement to infringement procedures initiated by the Commission against Member States. Where the EU’s financial interests are concerned, whistleblowing has the potential to generate savings for the EU budget, they add.
“Member States currently have a wide range of approaches to whistleblowing and EU law takes a piecemeal approach”, said Pietro Russo, the Member of the European Court of Auditors responsible for the Opinion. “A comprehensive, well-designed and user-friendly Directive could be an effective tool and could contribute to the protection of the EU budget, sound financial management and accountability.”