A new European Union directive is a step forward, but enforcement is the hard part.
The public may cheer a whistleblower, but it’s not easy to be one. While they expose fraud and abuse that otherwise would remain veiled, whistleblowers in Europe often face retaliation by their employers and other repercussions. A new proposed European Union directive seeks to change that; it might also prove useful in countering the erosion of democratic values in the bloc’s east.
Currently less than half of European Union countries have legislation protecting whistleblowers. A patchwork of national laws, many of them weak, means that whistleblowers are often prosecuted at home for disclosing information that exposed corruption, wrongdoing or abuse of power while they are conferred with honors, such as the “European Citizen” award, at the EU level for defending transparency.