#Whistleblowers in EU and #Taiwan to receive better protection with upcoming new rules

| June 28, 2019

New rules of the EU and Taiwan will protect whistleblowers and “quasi-whistleblowers”, who cooperate with investigations or provide witness statements, from reprisals in public as well as private sectors. Safeguard measures listed in the upcoming regulation include safe reporting channels, sufficient legal support and comprehensive protection of whistleblowers’ identities. The new system is expected to encourage reporting of law breaching and facilitate the authorities’ investigation process with more disclosed information available.

Prior to the legislation of Taiwan’s Whistleblower Protection Act, the Department of Government Ethics of Taipei City Government (DGE) visited Belgium, Luxembourg and Transparency International EU Charter last week, to exchange opinions on corruption prevention. The DGE, under the command of Taiwan’s Agency Against Corruption (AAC), is running ahead of other Taiwanese municipalities in implementing anti-corruption measures, including a digital integrity platform that discloses information of public procurement activities, an administration transparency award that encourages innovative way to enhance government, and an ongoing project to make signing an Integrity Pact obligatory for all the potential contractors of public construction projects. Whistleblowers in the EU and Taiwan will soon be better protected after the lawmakers of the two regions ratify new rules later this year. The new EU law was adopted in April at the European Parliament and now waits for the approval by EU ministers in September, while the Executive Yuan, Taiwan’s national executive body, passed the draft of the country’s first Whistleblower Protection Act last month.

During their trip to Europe, the representatives of Taiwan visited the Federal Ombudsman of Belgium, which is in charge of whistleblowers’ protection within the country’s public sector, and Luxembourg’s Corruption Prevention Committee under the Ministry of Justice. Belgium and Luxembourg have both adopted their own legislation to protect whistleblowers for several years and ranked high on the Corruption Perceptions Index published by Transparency International. Being the financial centre of Europe, Luxembourg has established extensive measures in promoting corporate honesty, investigating international money laundering and protecting whistleblowers in private sectors, especially after the LuxLeaks scandal revealed in 2014.

The DGE representatives also held a meeting with Nicholas Aiossa, the deputy senior policy officer at Transparency International EU Charter, a global anti-corruption NGO based in Brussels. Having been deeply involved in the legislation process of the EU’s whistleblowers directive for years, Aiossa pointed out that the next challenges faced by the EU member states would be the implementation of the EU directive in the following two years, as current protection of whistleblowers varies greatly among different EU countries, from nearly none to rather comprehensive legal framework.

The anti-corruption cooperation between governments and enterprises becomes increasingly significant as international trade relations grow more complex, according to a representative of the Taipei City Government. Under the new whistleblowers protection rules of the EU and Taiwan, private sectors will be obliged to establish internal reporting channels for whistleblowers. To ensure the whistleblowers protection law is complied by multinational conglomerates, cross-border collaboration and intelligence sharing between countries will be essential.

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