De Jong: Don’t leave whistle-blowers out in the cold

18 June 2015

De Jong: Don’t leave whistle-blowers out in the cold

Foto: SP

On 17th June SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong, together with corruption watchdog Transparency International, hosted a meeting in the European Parliament with – and about – whistle-blowers. Protecting whistle-blowers deserves at this time to be given a great deal of attention, given that the European Parliament yesterday voted in favour of an EU Directive on protection of company secrets. The measure in question will make it that much harder to make abuses within corporations public.

During the meeting a number of different whistle-blowers spoke about their experiences. At the invitation of the SP, whistle-blower Antoine Deltour described his successful attempt to publicise tax agreements between Luxemburg and a large number of multinationals in the so-called Luxleaks affair. Deltour is currently being prosecuted by the State of Luxemburg on the grounds that the practices which he brought to light are not formally illegal. ‘It’s incredible that someone who showed the courage to blow the lid on abusive practices is himself being taken to court,’ says De Jong. Other speakers included John Wilson, an Irish police officer who revealed abuses and not only lost his job, but has been repeatedly threatened.

De Jong wants to see not only amendments to the proposed legislation on company secrets, but also the clarification of internal guidelines of the European Union institutions designed to protect whistle-blowers. De Jong will, in the coming round when the European Parliament must signal its acceptance (via what is known as a ‘discharge’) of the accounts for expenditure for 2014, look specifically at the rules to protect whistle-blowers. In addition, there are enormous differences amongst the member states when it comes to the level of protection they offer whistle-blowers. At the end of 2013 Transparency International concluded, following an extensive investigation, that the member states’ existing legislation is a hotchpotch. Member states ought therefore to be improving their cooperation in this area. Along with the group of like-minded MEPs now recognised as an official cross-party Intergroup - on Integrity: Transparency, anti- corruption and organised crime – De Jong will be working to draw up recommendations on these issues, because, he says, ‘whether we’re talking about misuse of EU moneys, or tax evasion, whistle-blowers are essential in combatting corruption and abuses.’

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