BRUSSELS – It’s already four months past the deadline but Greece should move to implement a European Union Whistleblower Directive, the European Commission said, but there’s no penalties for not doing so.
With media freedom groups complaining that the New Democracy government is trying to stifle – and surveil – journalists, the EU said whistleblowers, often sources for reporters, should be protected, said EURACTIV.
The site pointed to the long-stalled case of alleged corruption surrounding the Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis in which the former ruling Radical Left SYRIZA – without any proof – said 10 rival politicians took bribes.
The case involved four alleged whistlebowers who said only that they overheard talk of bribery but nine of the accused were cleared of any wrongdoing despite the Leftists saying the case was the biggest scandal in modern Greek history, but no one has been prosecuted.
The EU’s whistleblower directive provides protection to whistleblowers in the 27 member states but most have ignored it and aren’t being required to push it beyond urging by officials to make moves.
It was adopted in October 2019, and member states had until December 2021 to transpose it into national law, something Greece has failed to do along with some two-thirds of the other members.
“As guardian of the Treaties, the Commission will take all necessary measures to ensure the effective enforcement of the directive. On 28 January 2022, the Commission addressed a letter of formal notice to Greece for failure to communicate the measures taken to transpose the directive by the deadline of 17 December 2021,” EU Commission Vice-President Věra Jourová said.
That was in response to a formal question by Leftist Member of the European Parliament Stelios Kouloglou who said the deadline had been missed and there was scant work being done to implement the directive, the site said.
“The relevant parliamentary committee has not completed its work, and public consultation with civil society and stakeholders has not progressed,” Kouloglou said. There was no report of a response from the government.
He accused the government of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis of stalling it as his administration is being hammered by media freedom groups for failing to protect whistleblowers and journalists.
The MEP added that although the opposition and NGOs have urged for transparency, the conservative New Democracy government (EPP) has unjustifiably delayed the process by constantly postponing it.
Other member states who have failed to meet the deadline at least are moving toward implementing the directive, the story said, but not Greece and there apparently aren’t any penalties for not doing so yet.
“Whistleblowers are brave people willing to bring illegal activities to light – often at great risk to their career and livelihood – to protect the public from wrongdoing. They deserve recognition and protection for their brave actions. I call on the member states to transpose the new rules without delay,” she said but she’s been ignored as well too.