Marking a major step forward in the fight against crime and corruption, the Albanian Parliament on June 2 passed a whistleblower protection law covering employees in the public and private sectors.
Albania now joins Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia and Serbia among Southeast European countries with designated whistleblower legislation.
The Institute for Democracy and Mediation (IDM, a Coalition member) and the Coalition itself provided extensive input on the law in the weeks leading up to the vote. In the plenary, the Parliament’s rapporteur mentioned the contributions of both organizations. The Law on Whistleblowing and the Protection of Whistleblowers passed by 75 votes in favor, with 1 abstention.
The law provides protection for whistleblowers in the public and private sectors from all forms of retaliation if they expose misconduct in the workplace. The law also establishes new procedures to investigate disclosures.
At a Parliamentary Committee meeting on March 7, IDM and other NGOs commented on the draft, including calling for improved protection mechanisms, reporting channels and disclosure investigations.
Netherlands’ ambassador to Albania, Dewi van de Weerd, recognized the step as innovative and necessary for the country. The Dutch government has provided support for drafting the law, and De Weerd has pledged more support to implement it.
The law constitutes an important political development for Albania’s aspiration to join the European Union. The EU has recommended adopting the law in its last two progress reports on Albania.