From May 27th – 29th, Anti Corruption International (ACI)  and its partners Youth to Youth Initiative and the Global Ethics Institute, hosted a youth conference on the topic of the protection of Whistleblowers in the European Union.

ACI is convinced that young Europeans can provide the EU with valuable arguments in the process of creating a strong protection of Whistleblowers. We also believe that the voice of youth should be heard and considered by the European Commission which is currently drafting a law proposal.  

We provided young activists from Europe with the opportunity to present their views on the topic in the shape of an Official Statement later sent to the European Commission. A second outcome of the conference was a campaigning team was formed. This team will launch an awareness creating campaign for whistleblower rights in Europe later this fall.

A combination of thematic workshops and public talks during the first two days of the conference laid the knowledge foundation for the participants to suggest a progressive statement on whistleblower protection for the European Union. This official statement was then developed during the third day of the conference; Parliament Day. The outcome of the conference feeds directly into the Public Consultation of on Whistleblower Protection and therefore plays an important role in communicating the voice of young Europeans to the European Commission.

Read our Press Release to find out more about the different political opinions on Whistleblower Protection in the European parliament.

Workshop Day 1

The first one day was filled with input talks and workshops by researchers, campaigners and real whistleblowers from around Europe.

Giulio Carini, an anti-corruption researcher and campaigner from Riparte il Futuro, spoke on existing Whistleblowing legislation in Europe. French Whistleblower Stéphanie Gibaud gave an insight into the personal risks of blowing the whistle, while Swiss Whistleblower Rudi Elmer worked together with the participants on defining public interest. Martin Jefflen, President of Eurocadres and initiator of the petition, spoke about ways to facilitate Whistleblowing in the public sector.

In the evening, Rudi Elmer was himself available for a Q&A session after the public screening of the documentary “Offshore – Elmer & the Swiss Bank Secrecy” in the Global Ethics Institute. This event was funded  by the student council (StuRa) Tübingen.

Workshop Day 2

On the second day Flutura Kusari from the European Institute of Journalism and Communication Research in Leipzig, spoke about the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights in regards to Whistleblowers. The court’s definition of a Whistleblower could be an influential input for a European law on Whistleblower Protection.

In multiple discussions amongst the participants, different options for how a whistleblower should report wrongdoing were compared and ideas for effective disclosing channels were developed. Moreover, the Whistleblower protection in the countries represented by the participants were presented and discussed.

The political process for better whistleblower protection and common standards has already begun. However, the public momentum built around this topic is still quite low. Therefore, with the EACYC2017 and youth participation in building a campaign, we hope to contribute to raising awareness on the issue and to establishing whistleblowing as an effective and appreciated tool for reporting wrongdoings, such as acts of corruption, in Europe.

Last year, the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament presented an EU Draft Directive on whistleblower protection, which underwent a public feedback process later in 2016 and was handed over to the European Commission at the end of 2016. The Commission is currently running an impact assessment including a consultation of the public. The report on the role of whistleblowers in the protection of EU’s financial interest presented by MEP Dennis de Jong in February and adapted short after by the European Parliament, further urged the Commission to present a legislative proposal to establish minimum standards of protection for whistleblowers.

Social Innovation Workshop

Since a campaign works best with multiple ideas, we tried to stipulate the participants creativity in a Social Innovation Workshop.  For this purpose, we invited a young graphic designer and campaigner from Munich, Jimmy Dögerl, who together with Anti Corruption International’s president Jason Deegan gave an introduction on how social media campaigning is best designed. Afterwards the participants were divided into groups and worked on campaigning ideas which will all feed into the aforesaid awareness creation campaign.

Parliament Day – Day 3

After two intense days of workshops and lectures, the participants now got the chance to use the acquired knowledge in practice and to formulate an Official Statement. We presented them with some overall topics within the general theme, but the final content of the statement was solely up to the participants. The discussion got heated, which we see as proof that the previous days had successfully equipped the participants with a broad and nuanced view on the topic.

The result was a substantial document commenting on aspects ranging from the definition of a whistleblower, via what kind of requirements the EU should impose on its member states in regards to the structure of disclosing channels, to what kind of disclosures the law should protect.

Read our final statement.

Our impression was that this interactive session was highly appreciated by the participants, as it showed how challenging policy making can be in practice, and thus creating an actual experience rather than a mere theoretical introduction to the theme. We also experienced them to get more enthusiastic about this rather complex topic, and eager to continue to have an impact both in civil society as well as in politics.



We have created an official statement which was submitted to the Public Consultation of the European Commission on May 29th, 2017. Read here about the developments following from the public consultation.

We are launching a campaign to protect Whistleblowers and raise awareness around the topic in Fall 2017. If you want to join our campaigning team, please contact us.