Supporting People who Speak Out

EU Whistleblowing Directive: Strengths and shortcomings

Following years of pressure by civil society, a new Directive will finally raise the level of whistleblower protection in the European Union. The legislation establishes minimum standards for all 28 Member States, many of which so far have no whistleblower protection measures in place.

Measured against our Blueprint Principles For Whistleblower Protection, the Directive covers eleven of them fully. Another eight are partially fulfilled. The remaining four principles are either completely absent from the text, or left to the discretion of Member States.

Among the strengths of the Directive are its broad scope in protected persons and organizations, the compulsory introduction of internal channels for public and private employers, a reversed burden of proof and broad retaliation protection. On the other hand, in certain aspects, the scope of the Directive is limited by the European mandate: This concerns the scope of reportable wrongdoing, sanctions for retaliation, national security whistleblowing as well as rules on extradition.

‘Whistleblowing in the European Union: A new Directive to protect Citizens, Democracy and Rule of Law’.


The European Union’s initiative is an ambitious and promising one – but it is limited by European law. Member States make sure to address the current shortcomings and make sure to turn Europe into a truly safe harbour for those who speak up against wrongdoing in the public interest. After analysing the contents of the Directive against Blueprint’s Principles, the report provides recommendations for those engaged in the process of transposition on the national level.

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Blueprint for Free Speech


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