Antoine Deltour, Ana Garrido, Howard Wilkinson and other European whistleblowers
likely would not have been adequately protected under current proposal

5 Dec. 2018 / Brussels – EU officials were urged today to strengthen proposed legislation aimed to protect whistleblowers from retaliation and compensate them for financial losses. In a letter to the European Parliament and Council, the European Center for Whistleblower Rights called for officials to improve the law in several key areas.

The legislation, known as a Directive, would require all 28 EU countries to provide legal protections for public- and private-sector employees who report certain crimes and public health dangers. A Parliamentary committee approved the proposal on Nov. 20 following seven months of debate and extensive input from NGOs, labor unions and anti-corruption experts.

“Thanks to citizen advocacy, the legislation has become much stronger. We’re almost there,” said Mark Worth, executive director of the European Center and member of the UN Expert Group on Whistleblowing. “If a number of major gaps are not plugged, however, employees across Europe will remain vulnerable to firing, legal action and other reprisals.”

The Center urged EU officials to include in the Directive:

  • the right to disclose concealed information directly to the public or the media;

  • specific protections for journalists, activists and advisors who work with whistleblowers;

  • a specific ban on civil and criminal defamation actions against bona fide whistleblowers;

  • protection for employees who report information as part of their professional duties;

  • a broader list of crimes and public health threats that can be reported; and

  • compensatory rewards for whistleblowers under certain circumstances.

EU officials have acknowledged they were motivated to propose the Directive because of the LuxLeaks, Panama Papers, VW emissions and Cambridge Analytica scandals. Yet, if approved, the Directive as currently written very likely would not have fully protected the whistleblowers at the center of these and other cases, including Dankse Bank whistleblower Howard Wilkinson.

Only 16 of the EU’s 28 countries have legal protections in place, though all of these laws lack some basic European standards. Seven EU countries have enacted no whistleblower protections whatsoever, including Denmark, Finland, Poland and Spain.


The European Center for Whistleblower Rights assists whistleblowers and advocates for stronger legal rights and
protections for citizens who report crime, corruption and public health dangers.