European Parliament Demands Transparency In Expert Groups, Protection For Whistleblowers 14/02/2017 by Monika Ermert for Intellectual Property Watch 1 Comment Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)The European Commission is reforming the way it populates its “expert groups” which has been criticized as unbalanced and non-transparent for years. But the European Parliament is not satisfied. In a report on its own initiative passed in Strasbourg today practically unanimously (663 in favour, 16 against, 13 abstentions), the Parliament requested the Commission make public how it decides the composition of expert groups and explain which interest groups are to be represented and how geographical and political interests will be balanced. Two reports from GUE rapporteur Dennis de Jong passed today, on transparency and whistleblower protection. The most important request from the Parliament according to the rapporteur, Dennis de Jong, vice-chair of the “European United Left – Nordic Green Left“ party group, was that expert group meetings must be held openly and minutes of the meetings must be published afterwards. The European Commission in its reform from last year reacted to the longstanding criticism of the work of external expert groups by establishing a new horizontal framework. Still, expert groups meetings are not supposed to be open by default, according to the new rules, something the Parliament wants to see changed quickly. Also, the report asks the Commission to consider how it can enhance participation of nongovernmental organisations in the expert groups. A second report also passed with overwhelming majority (607 in favour, 16 against, 70 abstentions) in which the Parliament requested better protection for whistleblowers with regard to violations of financial interests of the European Union. The report asks to establish, in the long run, a dedicated body in the European Union to which whistleblowers that want to report financial fraud can reach out. The Commission according to the report should also “study best practices from whistle-blower programs already in place in other countries around the world; draws attention to the fact that some existing schemes provide financial rewards to whistle-blowers (such as a percentage of the sanctions ordered).” Such rewards could provide important income to persons who have lost their jobs as a result of whistleblowing, the report notes. Both reports are initiative reports, not binding law, but due to their overwhelming support the Commission had to address the requests made, a spokesperson of de Jong said. The texts of the reports are here http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=REPORT&mode=XML&reference=A8-2017-0002&language=EN (Expert Groups) and here http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//TEXT+REPORT+A8-2017-0004+0+DOC+XML+V0//EN&language=en (Whistleblower Protection) Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related Monika Ermert may be reached at email@example.com."European Parliament Demands Transparency In Expert Groups, Protection For Whistleblowers" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.