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New EU Whistleblower Directive adopted – scandals necessitated reforms

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Behrendt Markulf
Markulf Behrendt

Partner, Global Head of Employment & Benefits

Hamburg

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Vanderreken Inge
Inge Vanderreken

Partner

Brussels

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09 October 2019

Whistleblowers have been making headlines almost every month these past years – and this follows a string of scandals such as LuxLeaks, Panama and the Paradise Papers as well as Dieselgate and Cambridge Analytica, which have exposed the limited assistance available for people seeking to expose wrongful corporate behaviour in the public interest.

Only 10 EU Member States have comprehensive legislation in place, with others offering partial protection at most. At EU level, there are some existing instruments in place that provide for whistleblower protection, but these have varying levels of detail and remain predominantly limited to financial services, transport safety and environmental protection.

On 7 October 2019 the European Council approved the Whistleblower Protection Directive, which was first adopted by the European Parliament in April 2019, to further protect whistleblowers (the Directive). The Directive specifically states that there are lessons to be learnt from these scandals that necessitate this protection.

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