Slovenian National Assembly

Proposal for a DIRECTIVE OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL on the protection of persons reporting on breaches of Union law

Scrutiny details

Subsidiarity deadline: 26/07/2018
 
Scrutiny Information

Scrutiny date: 13/07/2018

Subsidiarity Concern:

No Important information to exchange

No Veto

Information on parliamentary scrutiny

​Joint Committee discussed the proposal at its 1st extraordinary meeting of 5 July 2018.

The Committee on EU Affairs of the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia discussed the proposal again at it’s 1st meeting of 13 July 2018 and adopted the following Position:

The Republic of Slovenia supports the Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament on the protection of persons reporting on breaches of Union law. It agrees with the findings that unlawful activities and abuse of law may occur in any organisation, whether private or public, big or small. They can take many forms, such as corruption or fraud, malpractice or negligence. And if they are not addressed, they can sometimes result in serious harm to the public interest. People who work for an organisation or are in contact with it in their work-related activities are often the first to know about such occurrences and are, therefore, in a privileged position to inform those who can address the problem.

As regards Chapter I which outlines the scope of the Directive and sets out the definitions, we find that the Proposal for a Directive substantially broadens the protection of whistleblowers as currently regulated in the Slovenian legal order. The areas covered by the Directive and in which it protects the reporting persons are the areas in which a large number of state authorities operate in our country. These are mainly inspection bodies and other supervisory institutions: the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption, the Human Rights Ombudsman, the Information Commissioner, the Bank of Slovenia, the Court of Auditors, the National Electoral Commission and others. The scope of the directive will need to be precisely defined not only in terms of content, but also in institutional terms.
The reporting person is defined more narrowly in comparison with the reporting person under the Inspection Act or the Integrity and Prevention of Corruption Act (hereinafter ZIntPK). A whistleblower is read in the Directive as a person who learned of the irregularities in the (broader) context of work. However, the current Slovenian legislation makes no distinction between the reporting persons based on their relationship with the entity which they were blowing the whistle on.
As regards Chapter II which sets out the obligation to ensure internal reporting channels and procedures for receiving and following-up on reports, we consider the basic approach appropriate, however, we note that it will be necessary to specify the entities that will need to determine the channels and procedures for internal reporting, i.e. in particular who are the other entities governed by public law. Moreover, it is not sufficiently clear how will the Member States draw up a risk assessment (point 4 of Article 4 of the Draft Directive) which will take into account the nature of the activities of the entities and, consequently, the level of risk.
We also support the proposal in Chapter III which sets out the obligation to establish external reporting channels and procedures for following up on reports, but we note that it is not clear whether Member States should set up central authorities that will be competent to receive and handle reports or establish appropriate channels within the existing competent institutions that will meet the standards set out in the Proposal for a Directive (separate communication channels, guaranteed completeness, integrity and confidentiality of information, prevented access to unauthorized staff members, etc.).
As regards Chapter IV defining the minimum standards for the protection of reporting and concerned persons, we consider the chosen method in the Proposal for a Directive which lists the necessary measures that prohibit any direct or indirect form of retaliation appropriate. In this way – which leaves open a wide set of measures and covers any act or omission in the working environment that harm them – it will be possible to ensure effective protection of reporting persons against retaliation. In the Slovenian legal order, protection is partially regulated in the ZIntPK, but it will also be necessary to expand it to other areas and add a set of measures that will prevent retaliation outside working environment and temporary measures that will protect both the reporting and the reported persons until the completion of the relevant legal proceedings.
It also appears from the Proposal for a Directive that for persons reporting irregularities which they discover in the wider context of the work it generally establishes the obligation to first try to resolve the case within their own environment. Only if such a settlement does not produce results or cannot be expected to produce results, the reporting person may turn to an external institution. The reporting person may disclose the irregularities to the public only when also the external institution fails to effectively react to the report. Such step-by-step system could be stated in the provisions of the Directive more clearly.

The Directive sets 15 May 2021 as the deadline for the adoption of laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with the Directive by the Member States. We believe that for the time being the deadline for harmonising the rules seems long enough, however, it is impossible to assess at this moment when will the Directive enter into force, therefore it would make sense to set a reasonable implementation deadline, starting from the entry into force of the Directive.

Given the broad scope covered by the Proposal for a Directive and the number of institutions operating in these areas, it would be reasonable to prepare a new law in the Republic of Slovenia that would comprehensively cover the protection of persons reporting breaches of Union law.



Contact points for EU matters

IPEX Correspondents:
Phone: 00 386 478 9482  Email Mrs. Aleksandra-Saša Lavrič Phone: 00 386 478 9664  Email Ms. Polona Klemenčič
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