Romania leads in the EU on adoption of the Whistleblowing Directive

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Romania is leading the way among European Union (EU) nations in the adoption of the EU Whistleblowing Directive, following the partnership between Romania’s Minister of Justice, Stelian Ion, and Member Parliament of Romania, Sebastian Burduja, who initiated the effort alongside numerous whistleblower experts from both the United States and Europe.

Romania is the first EU country to incorporate the recommendations for whistleblower protection and rewards submitted by the National Whistleblower Center (NWC) in its July 2018 letter, addressed to the European Commission’s then presidents and the European Parliament.

The legislative adoption proposal transposes into Romanian law the EU Directive 2019/1937 of the European Parliament and the European Council regarding the protection of whistleblowers who report violations of European Union law and new proposals based on models of good whistleblowing practice at the international level. Development began on this law in January by Mike Costache and Bogdan Buta.  They created a working group including UBS bank whistleblower Bradley Birkenfeld, NWC Board Chair,  Stephen M. Kohn and Whistleblowing International Executive Director, Mark Worth.

M. Kohn said on the draft bill: “The whistleblower protections and reward provisions featured in this critical piece of legislation will distinguish Romanian whistleblowers as a model for other nations to follow. This bill deftly translates the European Whistleblower Directive into law by importing leading whistleblower research and expert opinion. If adopted, whistleblowers will become Romania’s most powerful anti-corruption asset.”

Stelian Ion, Minister of Justice, said: “The Ministry of Justice is working on the implementation of the European Directive 2019/1937, and we welcome contributions from other MPs, civil society, and sector experts. We seek to bring the Romanian legislation in line with international standards, and we have the same goal in this respect: a strong and modern legislation in Romania, offering solid protection and proper incentives for whistleblowers.”

Sebastian Burduja, MP, said: “At the moment, Romania’s whistleblower legislation is in great need of improvement and, because we are required to transpose this European Directive, we decided to work on a comprehensive form, which includes mechanisms to ensure the protection of whistleblowers, rewards as a proportion of recovered damages, and the development of an online platform that ensures the possibility for whistleblowers to anonymously and securely report violations to competent authorities. Our proposal is the result of several months of consultations, research, and intensive study of global best practices.”

On April 1st, Parliamentary Member Burduja put into public debate a draft law regulating the protection of whistleblowers who report violations of the law within legal entities and the provision of rewards for whistleblowers from damages recovered by Romanian public authorities. The Ministry of Justice is hosting a public debate on the matter on April 8th.  Hailing from different political parties, the men have joined together to ensure this critical legislation’s passage.

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