All EU member states are obliged to adopt the EU directive on reporter protection, which came into force in December 2019, in national law by the end of 2021. The directive is deemed a success in terms of standardised protection of individuals who report issues. However, it is primarily applicable for reporting violations of EU law. This is not enough for the anti-corruption organisation Transparency International in Austria. The organisation is campaigning for the Austrian government to expand the directive to cover Austrian criminal and competition law for national law. Furthermore, the organisation is campaigning for reporter protection to be compiled into one framework law in order to collate the existing individual regulations on reporter protection in a clear manner and thus to create legal certainty. In addition, the protection should also be standardised for public servants. Whilst the EU directive does apply to the same extent for civil servants, the reporting procedure is determined by civil service legal obligations in the Austrian public sector. This obliges the affected individuals to report breaches to supervisors in principle. According to this, when it comes to the implementation of the EU directive, it should also be taken into consideration that those employed in the public sector are provided with standardised protection by the directive.
The extension of the directive to national law, and not just in Austria, is welcome news. However, it remains to be seen until the end of the period how the implementation will be designed in national laws.