Blowing the Whistle in the EU: A Policy Analysis of the Agenda-Setting of the Proposal for a Whistleblowers Protection Directive
Keywords:Whistleblowing, Agenda-setting, European Union, Kingdon model
AbstractScandals concerning wrongdoings of multinational corporations and governments are inescapable in the news. “Blowing the whistle” on these is often constrained out of fear of retaliation, which is why in April 2018, a Directive to assure protection to whistleblowers was proposed. Tracing the origins of the process is complicated because there are several actors operating in a multilevel polity. Hence, Kingdon’s multiple-streams model is applied to legislative texts and several news outlets, and inferences are drawn to describe the facets of the rise of whistleblowers protection on the EU agenda. This paper finds that the Greens Parliamentary group became a policy initiator after being urged by Transparency International to act. The Greens justified the need to act with old arguments, which however acquired momentum only when the political climate soothed after the scandals of LuxLeaks and Panama Papers.
"What is WikiLeaks" (2015, 3 November). Retrieved from https://wikileaks.org/What-is-WikiLeaks.html.
Ackrill, R., and Kay, A. (2011). Multiple streams in EU policy-making: the case of the 2005 sugar reform. Journal of European public policy, 18(1), 72-89.
Ackrill, R., Kay, A., and Zahariadis, N. (2013). Ambiguity, multiple streams, and EU policy. Journal of European Public Policy, 20(6), 871-887.
Barbière, C. (2017, 1 June). Juncker promises EU law to protect whistleblowers. Euractiv. Retrieved from https://www.euractiv.com/section/economy-jobs/news/juncker-promises-eu-law-to-protect-whistleblowers/
Barzelay, M. and Gallego, R. (2006). From “new institutionalism” to “institutional processualism”: advancing knowledge about public management policy change. Governance, 19(4), 531-557.
Bassot, E., and Hiller, W. (2018). The Juncker Commission's ten priorities: State of play in autumn 2018 [Study]. Retrieved from http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/STUD/2018/625176/EPRS_STU(2018)625176_EN.pdf
Béland, D., and Howlett, M. (2016). The role and impact of the multiple-streams approach in comparative policy analysis. Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis, 18(3), 221-227.
Biondani, P., and Sisti, L. (2018, 30 October). Così Jean-Claude Juncker ha ucciso il sogno dell'’Europa. L'Espresso. Retrieved from http://espresso.repubblica.it/plus/articoli/2018/10/29/news/juncker-killer-d-europa-1.328139
Borrás, S., and Radaelli, C. M. (2011). The politics of governance architectures: creation, change and effects of the EU Lisbon Strategy. Journal of European Public Policy, 18(4), 463-484.
Börzel, T. A., Stahn, A. and Pamuk, Y. (2010). The European Union and the fight against corruption in its near abroad: can it make a difference?, Global Crime, 11(2), 122-144.
Bouville, M. (2008). Whistle-blowing and morality. Journal of Business Ethics, 81(3), 579-585.
Bowers, S. (2019a, 7 March). European Authorities Launch Probe Into Secret Lux Leaks Tax Deal. International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. Retrieved from https://www.icij.org/investigations/luxembourg-leaks/european-authorities-launch-probe-into-secret-lux-leaks-tax-deal/
Bowers, S. (2019b, 12 February). Why has the European Commission not investigated Lux Leaks tax deals?. International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. Retrieved from https://www.icij.org/investigations/luxembourg-leaks/why-has-the-european-commission-not-investigated-lux-leaks-tax-deals/
Callahan, E. S., Dworkin, T. M., and Lewis, D. (2003). Whistleblowing: Australian, UK, and US Approaches to disclosure in the public interest. Virginia Journal of International Law, 44(3), 879-912.
Coney, P., and Coney, C. (2016). The Whistleblower Protection Act (Japan) 2004: a critical and comparative analysis of corporate malfeasance in Japan. Monash University Law Review, 42(1), 41-71.
Council of Europe (2014). Recommendation CM/Rec(2014)7 of the Committee of Ministers to Member States on the protection of whistleblowers [Recommendation]. Retrieved from https://search.coe.int/cm/Pages/result_details.aspx?ObjectID=09000016805c5ea5
Da Silva Marques, J. V. (2019, 18 April). Whistleblowers across Europe now have more protection, but Assange divides opinion. Euronews. Retrieved from https://www.euronews.com/2019/04/17/whistleblowers-across-europe-now-have-more-protection-but-assange-divides-opinion
Dalby, D., and Bowers, S. (2019, 18 April). Lux Leaks, Panama Papers spur EU to better protect whistleblowers. International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. Retrieved from: https://www.icij.org/investigations/panama-papers/lux-leaks-panama-papers-spur-eu-to-better-protect-whistleblowers/
European Commission (2016a). Closing remarks of the second Fundamental Rights Colloquium on Media Pluralism and Democracy by Commissioner Věra Jourová. [Speech]. Retrieved from http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_SPEECH-16-3842_en.htm
European Commission (2016b). Session IIb: Whistle-blowers and investigative journalism. Retrieved from http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/newsroom/image/document/2016-45/20161031-134140_session_ii_b_docx_19251.pdf
European Commission (2017a). Special Eurobarometer 470. Retrieved from http://ec.europa.eu/commfrontoffice/publicopinion/index.cfm/Survey/getSurveyDetail/yearFrom/2017/yearTo/2017/surveyKy/2176.
European Commission (2017b). Public consultation on whistleblower protection. Retrieved from https://ec.europa.eu/newsroom/just/item-detail.cfm?item_id=54254.
European Commission (2018a, April 23). Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the protection of persons reporting on breaches of Union law [Legislative proposal n. COM/2018/218]. Retrieved from https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX:52018PC0218
European Commission (2018b). Summary results of the public consultation on whistleblower protection. Retrieved from https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/annex_13.pdf
European Commission (2018c). Whistleblower protection: Commission sets new, EU-wide rules [Press release]. Retrieved from http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-18-3441_en.htm
European Parliament (2013). Resolution of 23 October 2013 on organised crime, corruption and money laundering: recommendations on action and initiatives to be taken (Report n.2013/2107(INI)). Retrieved from http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=TA&reference=P7-TA-2013-0444&language=EN
European Parliament (2014a). Report on the US NSA surveillance programme, surveillance bodies in various Member States and their impact on EU citizens’ fundamental rights and on transatlantic cooperation in Justice and Home Affairs. (Report n. 2013/2188(INI)). Retrieved from https://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//TEXT+REPORT+A7-2014-0139+0+DOC+XML+V0//EN
European Parliament (2014b). Setting EU priorities, 2014-19: The ten points of Jean-Claude Juncker's political guideline [Briefing paper n. PE 538.963]. Retrieved from: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/EPRS/EPRS-Briefing-538963-Setting-EU-Priorities-2014-19-FINAL.pdf/
European Parliament (2017). Report on legitimate measures to protect whistle-blowers acting in the public interest when disclosing the confidential information of companies and public bodies [Report n. A8-0295/2017]. Retrieved from http://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/A-8-2017-0295_EN.html?redirect
European Parliament and Council of the European Union. (2016, June 8). Directive EU 2016/943 on the protection of undisclosed know-how and business information (trade secrets) against their unlawful acquisition, use and disclosure, Official Journal of the European Union, 15.6.2016, L 157/1-18.
Follesdal, A., and Hix, S. (2006). Why there is a democratic deficit in the EU: A response to Majone and Moravcsik. Journal of Common Market Studies, 44(3), 533-562.
Glazer, M. P. and Glazer, P. M. (1989). The Whistleblowers: Exposing Corruption in Government and Industry. New York: Basic Books.
Gorbanova, M. (2015). Speak Up - Empowering citizens against corruption. Retrieved from: https://www.transparency.org/whatwedo/publication/speak_up_empowering_citizens_against_corruption
Gotev, G. (2017, 2 February). Greens slam Commission for blocking Panama Papers probe. Euractiv. Retrieved from https://www.euractiv.com/section/euro-finance/news/greens-slam-commission-for-blocking-the-panama-papers-probe/
Grant, C. (2002). Whistle Blowers: Saints of Secular Culture. Journal of Business Ethics, 39(4), 391–399.
Greens/EFA (2013, September 30). Sakharov Prize - Edward Snowden makes shortlist for EU freedom of thought prize after Green nomination [Press release]. Retrieved from https://www.greens-efa.eu/en/article/press/sakharov-prize-4810/
Greens/EFA (2016a, May 3). Letter presenting you with a draft Directive to protect whistle-blowers across Europe. Retrieved from: https://www.greens-efa.eu/legacy/fileadmin/dam/Images/Transparency_campaign/Letter_to_Juncker_on_whistleblowing_directive_sent_3_May_2016.pdf
Greens/EFA (2016b, May 4). Whistleblower Protection in the public and private sector in the European Union: A draft directive. Retrieved from https://www.greens-efa.eu/legacy/fileadmin/dam/Images/Transparency_campaign/WB_directive_draft_for_consultation_launch_May_2016.pdf
Gunsalus, C. K. (1998). How to Blow the Whistle and Still have a Career Afterwards. Science and Engineering Ethics, 4(1), 51–64.
Haas, E.B. (1968). The Uniting of Europe: Political, Social, and Economic Forces 1950–1957. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
Heimann, F., Dell, G. and Bathory, G. (2013). UN Convention Progress Report 2013. Retrieved from: https://www.transparency.org/whatwedo/publication/un_convention_against_corruption_progress_report_2013
Howard, C. (2005). The policy cycle: a model of post‐Machiavellian policy making?. Australian Journal of Public Administration, 64(3), 3-13.
Jacobsen, H. (2014, 21 November). Vestager says will use ‘Luxleaks’ documents in EU tax probe. Euractiv. Retrieved from https://www.euractiv.com/section/competition/news/vestager-says-will-use-luxleaks-documents-in-eu-tax-probe/
Jos, P. H., Tompkins, M. E., and Hays, S. W. (1989). In praise of difficult people: A portrait of the committed whistleblower. Public Administration Review, 49(6), 552–561.
Jubb, P. B. (1999). Whistleblowing: A restrictive definition and interpretation. Journal of Business Ethics, 21(1), 77-94.
Julian Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy: Timeline (2019, May 23), BBC. Retrieved from https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-11949341.
Julian Assange: journalistic hero or enemy agent?. (2019, April 12), The Economist. Retrieved from https://www.economist.com/britain/2019/04/12/julian-assange-journalistic-hero-or-enemy-agent.
Kingdon, J. W. (1983). Agendas, alternatives, and public policies, with an epilogue on health care, 2nd ed., Harlow: Pearson Education Inc.
Kingdon, J.W. (2011). Agendas, alternatives and public policies, 2nd edn. Boston, MA: Longman.
Larmer, R. A. (1992). Whistleblowing and employee loyalty. Journal of Business Ethics, 11(2), 125-128.
Luxleaks whistleblower Antoine Deltour has conviction quashed (2018, 11 January), BBC News. Retrieved from https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-42652161
McGuinn, J., Rossi, L., and Fernandes, M. (2017). Estimating the economic benefits of whistleblower protection in public procurement (Report n. ET-01-17-799-EN-N). Retrieved from https://publications.europa.eu/en/publication-detail/-/publication/8d5955bd-9378-11e7-b92d-01aa75ed71a1/language-en.
Natali, D. (2004). Europeanization, policy arenas, and creative opportunism: the politics of welfare state reforms in Italy. Journal of European Public Policy, 11(6), 1077-1095.
Nielsen, N. (2013, October 23). EU-wide whistleblower protection law rejected. EU Observer. Retrieved from https://euobserver.com/justice/121873
Nyreröd, T., and Spagnolo, G. (2018, May 28). A proposed EU Directive on whistleblower protection [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://voxeu.org/article/proposed-eu-Directive-whistleblower-protection
O'Reilly, E. (2015). Decision of the European Ombudsman closing her own-initiative inquiry OI/1/2014/PMC concerning whistleblowing [Case n. OI/1/2014/PMC]. Retrieved from https://www.ombudsman.europa.eu/en/decision/en/59114#_ftn1
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (2016). Committing to Effective Whistleblower Protection. Paris: OECD Publishing. Retrieved from https://www.oecd.org/corporate/committing-to-effective-whistleblower-protection-9789264252639-en.htm
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (2018). G20 Anti-Corruption Action Plan. Retrieved from https://www.ag.gov.au/Integrity/AntiCorruption/Documents/G20AntiCorruptionActionPlan.pdf
Panama Papers: Juncker si difende (2017, 30 May), Euronews. Retrieved from https://it.euronews.com/2017/05/30/panama-papers-juncker-si-difende
Pearson, L. (2019). Historic day for whistleblowers as EU agrees pathbreaking legislation [Press release]. Retrieved from: https://www.transparency.org/news/pressrelease/historic_day_for_whistleblowers_as_eu_agrees_pathbreaking_legislation
Princen, S. (2010). Agenda-Setting. In E. Versluis, M. Van Keulen, and P. Stephenson (Eds.), Analyzing the European Union policy process. Basingstoke: Macmillan International Higher Education.
Reda, J. (2016, July 1). Luxleaks verdict against two whistle-blowers contradicts intention of legislators as trade secrets directive is misquoted [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://juliareda.eu/2016/07/luxleaks-verdict-misquote/.
Reda, J. (2018, April 23). EU protection for whistleblowers is coming [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://juliareda.eu/2018/04/eu-whistleblower-protection/
Rhodes, R.A.W. (2008). Policy network analysis. In M. Moran, M. Rein, and R. E. Goodin (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of public policy. Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press.
Richardson, J. (2006). Policy-making in the EU: interests, ideas and garbage cans of primeval soup. In J. Richardson (Ed.), European Union Power and Policy-making, Abingdon: Routledge.
Rothschild, J., and Miethe, T. D. (1999). Whistle-blower disclosures and management retaliation. Work and Occupations 26(1), 107–128.
Sabatier, P. (1988). An advocacy coalition framework of policy change and the role of policy orientated learning therein. Policy Sciences, 21(2-3), 128–168.
Savage, C. (2019, 23 May). Assange Indicted Under Espionage Act, Raising First Amendment Issues, New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/23/us/politics/assange-indictment.html
Schulze, M. (2015). Patterns of surveillance legitimization: The German discourse on the NSA scandal. Surveillance & Society, 13(2), 197-217.
Transparency International (2013). European Parliament elections 2014: Anti-Corruption Pledge/Declaration against Corruption. Retrieved from: http://anticorruptionpledge.eu/static/pledge.pdf
Transparency International (2018). Whistleblower Protection in the European Union. Analysis and Recommendation on the proposed EU Directive. Retrieved from: https://transparency.eu/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/Transparency-International-Position-paper-EU-Whistleblower-Directive-003.pdf
Transparency International (n.d.). Our Organisation. Retrieved from: https://www.transparency.org/whoweare/organisation
UK Department of Transport (1987). The Merchant Shipping Act 1894 mv Herald of Free Enterprise (Report No. 8074). Retrieved from: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/54c1704ce5274a15b6000025/FormalInvestigation_HeraldofFreeEnterprise-MSA1894.pdf
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (2004). United Nations Convention against Corruption. Retrieved from https://www.unodc.org/documents/treaties/UNCAC/Publications/Convention/08-50026_E.pdf
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (n.d.). Implementation Review Group. Retrieved from http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/corruption/IRG/implementation-review-group.html
Valero, J. (2016, 11 January). Vestager: We should thank the Luxleaks whistleblowers, Euractiv. Retrieved from https://www.euractiv.com/section/digital/interview/vestager-we-should-thank-the-luxleaks-whistleblowers/
Vandekerckhove, W. (2010). European whistleblower protection: Tiers or tears?. In D. Lewis (Ed.), A Global Approach to Public Interest Disclosure, Cheltenham/Northampton MA: Edward Elgar.
Williams, B. (1985). Ethics and the limits of philosophy. London: Routledge.
Winterman, D. (2004, 6 October). Belmarsh - Britain's Guantanamo Bay?, BBC News. Retrieved from http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/3714864.stm.
Wolfe, S., Worth, M., Dreyfus, S., and Brown, A. J. (2014). Breaking the silence: strengths and weaknesses in G20 whistleblower protection laws. Retrieved from: https://blueprintforfreespeech.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Breaking-the-Silence-Strengths-and-Weaknesses-in-G20-Whistleblower-Protection-Laws1.pdf
Worth, M. (2013). Whistleblowing in Europe. Legal Protection for whistleblowers in the EU. Transparency International. Retrieved from: https://www.transparency.org/whatwedo/publication/whistleblowing_in_europe_legal_protections_for_whistleblowers_in_the_eu
Zahariadis, N. (2008). Ambiguity and choice in European public policy. Journal of European Public Policy, 15(4), 514-530.