Lithuania - Transposition of the EU Directive on Whistleblowing
Opinions published on draft law:
Stakeholders respond to draft whistleblowing legislation in Lithuania
In early March 2021, the Ministry of Justice sent out a draft law to transpose the EU Directive on whistleblowing to various stakeholders, requesting their feedback on the proposed amendments. The draft legislation “Law of the Republic of Lithuania on the Protection of Reporters” is publicly available here.
Based on the previous conversations with the Ministry representatives, the institutions known to have received an invitation to comment on the draft Bill included Transparency International Lithuania (TI Lithuania); the Prosecutor General’s Office; and the Special Investigation Service. It is not known whether other organisations were consulted.Institutions were required to provide their opinions by the 17th of March 2021.
TI Lithuania’s opinion paper urges the government to consider establishing a working group for transposition and public consultation on more detailed provisions, to enable wider discussion on the implication of implementation and how the proposed framework would work in practice.
On the 24th March 2021, Whistleblowing International Network and Transparency International published a joint report on the progress of transposition across all 27 Member States. Lithuania was found to have made minimal progress towards implementation and the lack of public information on steps taken meant the process was lacking in transparency and inclusivity of process.
Draft Bill in Progress:
A proposal to transpose the EU whistleblowing Directive is in development in Lithuania
The current Law on Protection of Whistleblowers came into force in January 2019. At the moment, there is no publicly available information on the process of the transposition of the EU Directive. However, in January 2021 the representative from the Ministry of Justice told Transparency International (TI) Lithuania that the Law amendments, that are being drafted in accordance with the EU Directive, are currently being reviewed by the internal European Union Law group within the Ministry of Justice. The status of transposition was also confirmed during the Whistleblower Protection Forum on 18 February 2021, an event organized by TI Lithuania and the Prosecutor General’s Office. It is foreseen that the amendments will be sent to the Prosecutor General’s Office and the Special Investigation Service for the review. No timeline is currently publicly available. However, as mentioned by the Ministry of Justice representative during the Forum, the EU Directive will be transposed on time.
According to the representative from the Ministry of Justice, the amended law will expand the existing definition of the whistleblower, list of the events in which information about the infringements shall be reported, article on ensuring confidentiality, will establish clearer timeliness, sanctions for institutions for non-complying with their responsibilities, penalties for persons who hinder or attempt to hinder reporting, retaliate against reporting person.