March 2. 2024. 3:39

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Commission suing Czechia for not protecting whistleblowers


The European Commission is suing Czechia for not having introduced rules to protect whistleblowers, a spokesman for the Court of Justice of the EU recently said, the Czech News Agency reported.

Member states were supposed to transpose the EU Whistleblowers Directive from October 2019 into their respective national laws by the end of 2021. Czechia is among the states that have not yet transposed the directive the Commission deems as key in the fields of environmental protection and nuclear safety in particular.

The Commission has thus requested the EU Court to impose a fine on Czechia that is to increase each day until Czechia transposes it, the Commission spokesperson said, adding that the court received the lawsuit on 13 March.

Reacting to the news, the Justice Ministry’s spokesman Vladimir Repka said it can be expected that the Czech parliament would pass the law this year. The government approved the whistleblowers’ bill in November, meaning the lower house will now discuss it in the second reading, probably in April.

In the meantime, those who have had their rights laid out in the directive infringed can directly take action against the state, Repka said in a press release.

The directive aims to create an environment where whistleblowers will not fear any sanctions in case they report unlawful acts. The measure is to help, for instance, those who reveal corruption and the practices threatening public health, data protection, the safety of products or transport and nuclear safety at their workplaces, the Czech News Agency reported.

There were efforts to pass legislation concerning whistleblowers’ protection in Czechia in the previous election terms, but none of the submitted proposals has been accepted so far.

Other member states have not yet transposed the directive, with the Commission announcing in mid-February that it would sue Czechia, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland and Spain.

(Ondřej Plevák | EURACTIV.cz)