Romania - Transposition of the EU Directive on Whistleblowing
Public consultation announced
On 1st of April 2021, the Romanian Ministry of Justice announced an online meeting to debate the transposition draft law on the protection of Whistleblowers.
The meeting will take place on the 8th of April, from 10 AM to 12 PM (EEST). Interested parties are invited to confirm their interest to participate until the 6th of April.
This public debate was requested by several civil society organisations who submitted written comments to stakeholder consultation held in March 2021.
Romania: Public consultation on the draft law to implement EU Directive on Whistleblowing is now open
On the 5th of March, the Romanian Ministry of Justice published a draft law transposing the EU Directive on Whistleblowing and public consultation is open until 26 March 2021 to receive recommendations and amendments.
The draft law aims to establish a consolidated framework of protection for all whistleblowers across both private and public organisations. Key elements of the proposal include:
- Protection is not limited to reports of certain types of wrongdoing but includes any breach of a legal obligation as well as to actions and omissions that contradict the object or purpose of the law, including non-compliance with ethical and professional rules (which reflects the scope of current Romanian whistleblowing legislation)
- Strengthening the current protection provisions existing in special regulations (such as financial services, products and markets, the prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing, transport safety, and environmental protection - where there are discrepancies between the whistleblowing law and specialised provisions - the stronger protection standard will apply
- Private sector entities with less than 50 employees are exempt from the obligation to establish internal reporting channels - reporting persons in such entities can report outside of the organisation directly through external reporting channels
- The National Integrity Agency will be established as a single independent and autonomous external channel afforded with additional competency to provide support measures to the reporting persons
The Ministry of Justice in Romania has arranged to meet with civil society organisations which form the Platform for the implementation of the National Anticorruption Strategy to discuss the drafting of a law to transpose the EU Directive on whistleblowing into national law. It is understood that the Minister had also sought input from public institutions and business associations. A more extensive consultation with a wider group of stakeholders is expected following the publication of a draft Bill. Minutes of the meeting were not made publicly available.
The Romanian civic network for whistleblowing (CivicAIP) has organizes a webinar on the process of transposition in Romania of the Directive (EU) 2019/1937 on the protection of persons who report breaches of Union law for November 19th, 2020. The panelists are representatives of the Ministry of Justice (institution responsible for the elaboration of the draft transposition law), the National Integrity Agency, and experts from the private and non-profit sectors. CivicAIP was established in 2020 by five NGOs from Romania active in promoting whistleblowing and anti-corruption policies. The purpose of the Network is to promote whistleblowing in Romania as a fundamental way to ensure a responsible work climate, characterized by integrity and the absence of any abuse and discrimination, in public and private organizations.
On the 19th of October 2020, Transparency International Romania launched the Business Integrity Country Agenda (BICA) research report in Romania in which it evaluates, among others topics, the whistleblowing legal provisions and their implementation. The report has a recommendation on whistleblowing protection for the public sector and one recommendation for the private sector. The recommendation for the public sector states “Accompany the transposition of the European Whistleblowing Directive with clear recommendations and guidelines applicable to institutional procedures, in particular for public procurement departments, tax and customs agencies and other institutions carrying out administrative inspections. They are of special importance procedures to encourage whistleblowers reports, to investigate reported cases and to ensure confidentiality and anonymity of the reports”. The recommendation for the private sector: “national and international companies, especially if they have more than 50 employees, should establish mechanisms to ensure the anonymity and protection of whistleblowers report so as to encourage employees of all levels to report cases of corruption or other irregularities within the company.”
By Ministry of Justice Order no. 118/C/2020, Romanian Ministry of Justice (MoJ) set up the working group for the transposition of the Directive on the protection of persons who report breaches of Union law. The MoJ representatives participated to the DG Just expert group meetings on the transposition of the Directive in order to exchange information and good practices between MS