Brussels has given a definitive, and harsh, wake-up call to Spain, due to the delay in transposing the directive for the protection of corruption whistleblowers, a key law so that potential whistleblowers feel safe when it comes to uncovering irregularities or violations of the law at your workplace or even by governments. As announced this Wednesday by the European Commission, it has decided to denounce Spain and seven other countries before the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) so that they are fined for the delay in transferring to their national law a European legislation that entered into force in December 2019. The Twenty-seven had a maximum term to adapt it to their legislation until December 17, 2021.
In addition to Spain, which is in the final phase of approving the law but already well beyond the deadline set by Brussels, the countries denounced are Germany, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg and Poland. The European Executive reproaches all of them “for not having transposed or notified the national measures of transposition into their legal system of the directive on the protection of people who report violations of Union Law”.
The so-called directive whistle blower (informant, in English) is a particularly sensitive issue these days in Brussels, in a capital that has not yet recovered from the alleged corruption scandal in the European Parliament of countries such as Qatar or Morocco, the so-called Qatargatewhich broke out last December and which many experts believe could have been avoided if the European institutions applied this whistleblower protection directive well to themselves.
The European directive obliges large companies and public administrations to have an internal and secure complaints channel to facilitate complaints from workers, but leaves it up to each country to decide whether complaints can only be filed through these channels or if they exist. also external roads, an option that Spain advocates in its bill.
Community sources point out that, in principle, the Commission can withdraw a complaint filed before the CJEU if the indicated country ends up complying with what is required before the Luxembourg judges begin to analyze the file. The important thing, the sources stress, is that the implementation of the directive be done once and for all. In fact, Spain is not the only EU country to drag its feet on this issue: just one year ago, when the deadline for transposing this directive had already expired, the Commission issued a file on a total of 24 countries —of the 27 Member States members — for not having done it on time, including Spain. Since then, the majority has accelerated the pace, although some still do not complete the procedure, which is why Brussels has decided to take this final step on the scale of warnings, which, more than a serious warning, can now end with a fine issued by Luxembourg. .