Sunday

19th Jan 2020

Green MEPs launch EUleaks

  • Green MEPs don't want to wait for an EU framework on protection of whistleblowers. (Photo: Green group in the European Parliament)

Green MEPs have set up a platform granting whistleblowers anonymity in the lack of an EU framework to protect such sources.

”It’s abundantly clear that if we want to make progress in the field of tax justice, environmental and public health protection, democracy and good administration, we need transparency,” Belgian Green deputy Philippe Lamberts told journalists on Tuesday.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 30-day free trial.

... or join as a group

  • (Photo: Green group in the European Parliament)

The platform, known as EUleaks, is open to tips on wrongdoing in areas covered by EU law.

Instructions for how to access the channel through Tor can be found on the group’s website .

MEPs said Tor, a secured network, will guarantee that whistleblowers stay anonymous.

The rights of sources are otherwise dire in many parts of the EU.

LuxLeaks

One case regards two former auditors who exposed dubious deals between large companies and tax authorities in Luxembourg, depriving fellow EU treasuries of billions of euros in lost revenue.

The revelations had the EU step up its work against tax avoidance.

But the leakers were sentenced by Luxembourgish authorities. After their appeal, more charges were opened against them.

The Green group in May unveiled a proposal for whistleblower protection, hoping it would inspire the European Commission to follow.

“Jean-Claude Juncker has a personal responsibility to act,” German Green MEP Sven Giegold said on Tuesday, referring to the commission’s president, who was for many years Luxembourg’s prime minister and finance minister.

But the MEP added it was unlikely the commission would deliver.

Under EUleaks, responsibility for publishing materials would fall upon MEPs, who are protected by parliamentary immunity.

The group - one of the parliament’s smallest - said it was unwilling to let MEPs from other factions join the project, because it wanted EUleaks to be used for pro-European purposes.

“We want to make Europe greener, democratic, social, effective. Our promise to whistleblowers is that we will use the information in a way that promotes the EU project,” said Lamberts.

He said eurosceptic MEPs might want to use the new instrument to harm the EU’s reputation.

But he also criticised the EU “mainstream”, which he said “had vested interests” and which “doesn’t want its own shortcomings published”.

Leading by example

Lamberts said the Green group already “receives lots of leaks” and that "we share this information with some journalists."

He said EUleaks would not be competing with the press.

Asked why whistleblowers would turn to a political group rather than the media, Giegold said Green MEPs could use information they received to put pressure on EU institutions in their political work.

He also said MEPs would share the information with journalists and civil society if the leaker agreed.

The Greens vowed to stay neutral and not filter information.

When asked what they would do in case of sensitive documents, for instance information that could be incriminating for fellow MEPs or EU officials and politicians, they said they would stick to EU rules of conduct.

"This is not about political exploitation but about defending the public interest," Lamberts said.

”I would love if the European Parliament had come up with this initiative,” he said, ”but it was unlikely to happen. We want to lead by example.”

Ethics drive at EU parliament hits a wall

Plans to increase transparency at the European Parliament have been postponed, in a move likely to result in weaker proposals when it goes to a vote.

EU trade law could criminalise whistleblowers

A new directive passed by the European Parliament Thursday to protect European companies from corporate espionage could lead to preventing information on business wrongdoings, critics argue.

EU commission presents 'realistic' lobbying rules

The EU executive called for more stringent regulation of interest representatives trying to influence EU decision making. Critics say the 'transparency revolution' is being blocked by the European Parliament and EU member states.

Catalan MEPs Puigdemont and Comin look for a party

The former head of the Catalan regional government, Carles Puigdemont, and one member of his government, Toni Comín, have requested to join the Greens/EFA group - but they do not close the door to other political groups.

News in Brief

  1. 'No objection in principle' on Huawei cooperation, EU says
  2. French aircraft carrier goes to Middle East amid tensions
  3. EU suggests temporary ban on facial recognition
  4. EU industry cries foul on Chinese restrictions
  5. 'Devil in detail', EU warns on US-China trade deal
  6. Trump threatened EU-tariffs over Iran, Germany confirms
  7. EU trade commissioner warns UK of 'brinkmanship'
  8. Germany strikes coal phase-out deal

This is the (finally) approved European Commission

MEPs gave the green light to the entire new European Commission during the plenary session in Strasbourg - but with the abstention of the Greens and a rejection by the leftist group GUE/NGL.

Magazine

Welcome to the EU engine room

Welcome to the EU engine room: the European Parliament (EP's) 22 committees, which churn out hundreds of new laws and non-binding reports each year and which keep an eye on other European institutions.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December
  5. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA appoints Nicholas Hodac as Director General
  2. UNESDASoft drinks industry co-signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration
  3. FEANIEngineers Europe Advisory Group: Building the engineers of the future
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  5. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  6. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us