The Network of European authorities for the integrity and protection of whistleblowers (NEIWA) calls for a correct transposition of the EU Directive in its Barcelona Declaration

Coinciding with the International Whistleblower’s Day, the Network of European Authorities for the Integrity and Protection of Whistleblowers (NEIWA), to which the Anti-Fraud Office of Catalonia belongs, publishes its Barcelona Declaration

Barcelona Declaration of the members of the NEIWA Network

23rd June 2022. Today, coinciding with the World Whistleblower Day, the Network of European Authorities for the Integrity and Protection of Whistleblowers (NEIWA - Network of European Integrity and Whistleblowing Authorities), to which the Anti-Fraud Office Catalunya belongs to, releases its Declaration of Barcelona, agreed in the Catalan capital at the 7th meeting of the Network, which took place on June 16-17 and was organized by the Anti-Fraud Office.

In its statement the NEIWA calls for governments, administrations and other stakeholders involved in the implementation of the EU Directive to transpose it correctly into the legislation of the Member States, and makes seven recommendations.

The NEIWA Network currently represents 28 authorities from 20 EU member states and two observers. The declaration resulting from NEIWA’s meeting, urges all governments, administrations and relevant stakeholders involved in the implementation of EU Directive 2019/1937 to take note of the following recommendations:

1. Member States who have not transposed the EU Directive are encouraged to complete the transposition in accordance with its the letter and spirit without further delay and therefore avoid the further stages of the infringement procedure;

2. Recommends that the transposition covers not only breaches of EU laws foreseen in the EU Directive but covers also other breaches of national legislation, infringements and wrongdoings that could threaten the public interest, going beyond the minimum standards established by the EU Directive and thus creating a comprehensive and coherent whistleblower protection framework;

3. Recommends that Member States describe in a comprehensive way protection mechanisms and procedures in their national legislations; this can include detailed procedures for pre-emptive or corrective measures, to ensure the effective protection of reporting persons;

4. Recommends that, even pending the transposition of the Directive, competent authorities and authorities which fall under the EU Directive definition, need to adapt their procedures to those identified by the EU Directive, in accordance with their competences and resources;

5. Highlights the importance that sufficient resources are allocated to competent authorities and all other authorities involved in the protection of whistleblowers for effectively implementing the EU Directive, especially the protective and support measures for reporting persons. NEIWA authorities and other authorities responsible to gather the data established in art. 27 of the EU Directive will need additional specific resources, financial support and expertise in order to gather the statistical data mentioned in art. 27 of the EU Directive. Furthermore, the EU Commission should issue a clear guidance on the data required and on an efficient and simplified mechanism to collect such data, in the absence of an obligation imposed by the Union law, the law of the State or confidentiality;

6. Recommends that awareness-raising campaigns on whistleblower protection fostering a speak-up culture in public and private sector organisations are launched in EU Member States;

7. Calls upon public authorities with a central or pivotal role in the field of whistleblowing, which have not yet done so, to consider joining and participating in NEIWA.

NEIWA was created in May 2019 to offer a platform for cooperation, exchange of knowledge and experiences in the field of integrity and reporting, with particular attention to the implementation of Directive (EU) 1937/2019. The founding meeting of the NEIWA took place on May 24, 2019 in The Hague and it has continued in Paris (December 2019), Rome (June 2020), Brussels (December 2021), Utrecht (June 2021), September 17, 2021, Dublin (December 10, 2021), and in Barcelona (June 2022).