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Saving money with whistleblower protection

When Eurocadres decided to create a petition calling for EU-wide whistleblower protection, one of the angles was tackling corruption and saving money. The Directorate General for internal market, industry, entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROWTH) went ahead by ordering a report on the cost-benefit of whistleblower protection in public procurement.

The report picks out those countries that have some sort of whistleblower protection in place – and the findings are remarkable. The report highlights that corruption costs approximately 120 billion euros per year in the EU! Of that sum, 5.3 billion is related to corruption in public procurement exclusively.

The report highlights that corruption costs approximately 120 billion euros per year in the EU!

Whistleblower protection is, according to Eurocadres, vital to reach on EU level. A horizontal legislation that covers both private and public sectors should be attained. In the report, the same conclusion is reached: “Horizontal action at the EU level to protect whistleblowers may, thus, offer significant benefits to EU citizens.”

Whistleblower protections is very much an issue of workers’ protection, but usually what works best is making the case of money. When there are clear economic benefits, interest grows. The study shows that in the Netherlands, every euro spent on setting up and maintaining whistleblower protection, 22 to 37 euros can be gained, depending on the case. The figure for Romania is mind-blowing: 319 up to 532 euros can be retrieved for every euro spent.

Hence, all arguments on the costliness of setting up mechanisms for whistleblower protection seem to be overthrown by this report, even if the focus is on public procurement only.

Eurocadres is hoping that the European Parliament will approve the own initiative report Legitimate measures to protect whistle-blowers acting in the public interest when disclosing the confidential information of companies and public bodies at the end of this month. The report was finally voted through in the Legal Affairs committee earlier this week and now moves on to the next stage. If and hopefully when voted through, it will send a strong signal towards the European Commission that whistleblower protection is needed in the EU.