Law to protect whistleblowers 'unlikely to pass in this parliament'

By TPN/Lusa, in News · 20-04-2019 08:00:00 · 0 Comments

Portugal’s minister of justice, Francisca Van Dunem, said that she doubted that legislation to protect whistleblowers approved this week by the European Parliament could be transposed into national law in the current parliament.

Van Dunem made the comments to Lusa and to RTPÁfrica, Portugal’s public service broadcaster for the continent, in Luanda, during a three-day working visit to Angola.

According to the minister, there is probably not enough time - given the proximity of European elections (on 26 May) and the general election (on 6 October) - for the parliament in Lisbon to take the directive now rubber-stamped by the European Parliament through all the necessary legislative stages.

"The status of whistleblower is basically grounded in the idea of someone, in his professional activity, who is aware of practices that are harmful to the interest of the state or to the corporate interest, to the interest of the company,” said Van Dunem. “The [European] Parliament has now adopted a directive which will require transposition into national law."

Van Dunem did not express her own opinion on the legislation.

The directive approved in Strasbourg on Tuesday Is the first European Union legislation of its kind. It was approved with 591 votes in favour, 29 against and 33 abstentions.

The aim is to create a uniform legal framework to protect whistleblowers across the EU. At present provisions vary among member states, with some offering no protection at all.

The directive is the result of an interim agreement reached in mid-March with the European Council, representing member governments. It foresees that people should be given protection from the law who report cases of tax fraud and money laundering and in the process bring into question public procurement contracts, the safety of products and transport, or the protection of the environment, public health, consumer protection and personal data.

The new rules aim also to provide secure communication channels for denunciations and measures to prevent intimidation and reprisals.

In addition to the whistleblowers themselves, journalists who disclose their denunciations would also be protected.

The new law also provides for EU member states to provide legal, financial and psychological support to whistleblowers.


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