Romania leads most European Union (EU) nations in the adoption of the EU Whistleblower Directive given the good working relationship between Romania’s Minister of Justice, Stelian Ion, and Member Parliament of Romania, Sebastian Burduja, who initiated the effort alongside numerous whistleblower experts from both the United States and Europe.
The legislative adoption proposal transposes into Romanian law the EU Directive 2019/1937 of the European Parliament and of the European Council regarding the protection of whistleblowers who report violations of EU law as well as a series of new proposals based on models of good whistleblowing practice at the international level. Development began on this law in November 2020 by Mike Costache and Bogdan Buta who created a working group including UBS bank whistleblower, Bradley Birkenfeld, National Whistleblower Center (NWC) Board Chair, Stephen M. Kohn, and Whistleblowing International Executive Director, Mark Worth.
Romania is the first EU country to take into consideration all the vital feedback related to whistleblowers’ protection and rewards as explained by NWC in its July 2018 letter, addressed to the then presidents of the European Commission and the European Parliament.
NWC Board Chair, Stephen M. Kohn, said on the draft bill: “The whistleblower protections and reward provisions featured in this critical piece of legislation will distinguish Romanian whistleblowers as a model for all other nations to follow when they implement the Directive. Importing leading whistleblower research and expert opinion, this bill deftly translates the European Whistleblower Directive into law. If adopted, whistleblowers will become Romania’s most powerful anti-corruption asset.”
To expedite the adoption process, on April 1st, Parliamentary Member Burduja put into public debate a draft law regulating the protection of whistleblowers who report violations of the law within corporate and government entities, as well as rewards for whistleblowers from damages recovered by Romanian public authorities. On April 8th, the Ministry of Justice is hosting a public debate on the subject matter and on April 20th both Minister Ion and Parliamentary Member Burduja are participating at the 18th edition of the Tax, Law & Lobby Conference, which is hosted virtually by Business Review, Romania’s leading English-language business news platform. The event is also co-hosted by NWC and the Romanian Business Leaders Association. At the conference, they will discuss the proposed legislation and the future of whistleblower regulations in Romania while numerous whistleblower experts will also share their stories to further cement the need for mandatory protection measures as well as a robust rewards program being implemented.
Join Stelian Ion, Sebastian Burduja, Stephen M. Kohn, Mark Worth, Bradley Birkenfeld, and an entire roster of relevant speakers, at BR’s upcoming Tax, Law, and Lobby | Whistleblower Focus Conference, on April 20, 2021. Register HERE for the online event!
Stelian Ion, Minister of Justice, said: “The Ministry of Justice is working on the implementation of the European Directive 2019/1937 and we welcome contributions from other MPs, civil society, and sector experts. We seek to bring the Romanian legislation in line with international standards and we have the same goal in this respect: a strong and modern legislation in Romania, offering solid protection and proper incentives for whistleblowers.”
Sebastian Burduja, MP, said: “At the moment, Romania’s whistleblower legislation is in great need of improvement and, because we are required to transpose this European directive, we decided to work on a comprehensive enhancement, which includes mechanisms to ensure the protection of whistleblowers, rewards as a percentage of recovered damages, and the development of an online platform that ensures the ability for whistleblowers to be anonymous and to securely report violations to competent government authorities. Our proposal is the result of several months of consultations, research and intensive study of global best practices.”
Justice Minister Ion is a member of the Save Romania Union – Freedom, Unity and Solidarity Party (USR-PLUS) party while Member of Parliament Burduja is a member of the National Liberal Party (PNL) party.