How can the EU Whistleblowing Directive be implemented incorrectly?

Sweden found itself in hot water with the European Union (EU) regarding its implementation of the 2019 Whistleblowing Directive. Their error serves as a learning opportunity about the challenges of adopting new legislation. This article will give an overview of the following points:

  • What Sweden did wrong;
  • The consequences;
  • Lacklustre implementation.

What did Sweden do wrong?

In February of 2022 the European Commission determined the measures adopted by Sweden would delay application of certain protections under the 2019 Whistleblowing Directive until the 17 July 2022. This is past the deadline imposed by the EU, which stipulates these should have been effective from 17 December 2021. While member states are allowed to modify deadlines, the dates stipulated by the EU represent the final date by which countries should implement the Directive.

What are the consequences?

Sweden was given a two-month deadline to take appropriate measures to remedy this, as it constitutes a breach of EU law. Should a country choose not to fulfill such an obligation, the European Commission may send further warning. If no action is taken still, the case could end up in the European Court of Justice. There is also the possibility of fines imposed for not complying with these stipulations.

For the curious ready, we have created another blogpost highlighting ''How to efficiently implement a whistleblowing scheme'' here

Lacklustre implementation

To date, Sweden is in the minority of EU states that have actually adopted the Whistleblowing Directive, despite the aforementioned hiccup. Unfortunately, even though one deadline has already passed and the next looming ever closer, the majority of member states have still not gotten around to adopting the new regulation. Thankfully, only one state has not yet begun at all, so at least the process is underway in most countries.

Though the EU Whistleblowing Directive may not be at the top of everyone’s priority list, missing deadlines and incorrect implementation still carry consequences. Despite the slow progress on implementation on part of the majority of EU member states, the vast majority have at least started the process. It remains to be seen whether there will be more hiccups like this one from Sweden. Stay tuned to find out!

Further reading:

EU Whistleblowing Monitor (2022) “Status of Transposition.” Accessed 8th June 2022.