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Infringement proceedings initiated against Germany, time running out....

Build your whistleblower management now!

Germany has not implemented the EU directive on whistleblower protection. Although a corresponding law should have been enacted by December 17 of last year to provide whistleblowers with better protection when they uncover scandals, corruption or criminal acts, the government has not yet complied. The government at the time was unable to reach a final agreement on the content.

The EU Commission therefore sent a "blue letter" to Berlin on January 27, 2022 (and communicated this on February 3). This letter of formal notice opens the so-called infringement proceedings, which in case of doubt may also end up before the European Court of Justice if Germany fails to implement the law. In any case, the Federal Republic of Germany is now required to submit a response within a period of two months. If the EU Commission comes to the conclusion that Germany is not complying with EU law precisely because it is not implementing the directive, it issues a further opinion, together with a renewed request to provide information within a period of time (normally a further two months) on the measures taken up to that point. If the law is still not enacted and in compliance with European law, the EU Commission can refer the matter to the European Court of Justice.

Even if this does not usually happen, the current Federal Minister of Justice, Marco Buschmann (FDP), has not yet presented a new draft law and time is pressing. Against the background of the basic procedure in an infringement proceeding, however, it is now possible to derive more concretely by when the enactment of the Whistleblower Protection Act in Germany should be expected, namely by the end of the first half of the year.

It is unclear whether there will be any transition periods at all, and if so, which ones, during which companies and public authorities can set up whistleblower channels and their management once the law has come into force. Therefore, it is now urgently time to establish whistleblower management and compliance in your company, even if this may have been an issue that could supposedly be postponed until now. This attitude should now be put aside for good.

The good news: I am of course available for support in setting up whistleblower management and for customized consulting on ethics and compliance, customized to your specific corporate culture (DM or See you soon and best regards (and congratulations to the companies that have already embraced the topic and realize what ethics & compliance management brings to the table, besides mere compliance with laws....).

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