Bulgaria - Transposition of the EU Directive on Whistleblowing
The Bulgarian government has now launched a public consultation on its national anticorruption strategy for 2021-2027 and whistleblower protection is included in the draft proposal.
- Number 6 - “Creating an environment for public intolerance to corruption”
- Number 4 - “Increasing the transparency and accountability of Local government”; and,
- Number 5 - “Liberating citizens from petty corruption”.
The focus on whistleblower protection is considered a success by Transparency International Bulgaria who has campaigned for these provisions for 36 months.
The draft strategy largely reflects key principles of an effective whistleblower protection framework. It guarantees for protection against retaliation, including introducing personal liability for those responsible for whistleblower reprisals; requires the establishment for confidential mechanisms for legal advice and assistance to potential whistleblowers, promotion of mechanisms for reporting, and guarantees of the right to a fair hearing.
The strategy is expected to be adopted by the current government before the national elections due to be held on 04 April 2021.
Currently there is an on-going discussion among the members of the working group on how the transposition should happen - with adoption of a separate dedicated law or through amendments to the existing relevant legislation. In both cases the provisions should regulate the reporting mechanisms, the rights of employees, the obligations of the competent authorities to process the received reports, the measures for protection and support of whistleblowers, including such in the course of judicial and administrative proceedings.
The working group finalised the first draft of the preliminary impact assessment of the current legislation. The analysis covers both the primary and the secondary legal acts.
Transparency International – Bulgaria have long been calling for a broad public discussion on and involvement of as many interested parties as possible in the process for transposition of the EU Whistleblowing Directive. The expert-level administration has accepted that position as evident from a preliminary analysis provided by the Ministry of Justice. However, there is no evidence that the recommendation has been taken into consideration at the political level. The employers’ associations, syndicates, branch business organisations as well as civil society organisations working on the protection of whistleblowers, continue being underrepresented in the working group.
The government’s Council for European Affairs took decision to create a Working group regarding the transposition of the Directive (EU) 2019/1937 on the protection of persons who report breaches of Union law. Transparency International – Bulgaria along with two other national NGOs working on transparency and anticorruption issues were invited to bring their expertise to the working group co-chaired by Deputy-minister of Justice and Deputy-minister of Labour and Social Policy.