Protecting whistleblowers in South-East Europe: A Review of Cases, Policies and Initiatives

This report is a follow-up of the regional study, “Whistleblower Protection in Southeast Europe: An Overview of Laws, Practice, and Recent Initiatives,” published by Regional Anti-corruption Initiative in 2015.

In the two years since the first edition of this report was released, Southeast Europe has continued to see progress toward protecting whistleblowers from retaliation and harness their disclosures to fight crime and corruption. As in all regions, however, much work is needed to ensure that citizens and employees who report misconduct are
not punished as a result. Of the 10 countries profiled here, seven now have in place some form of legal
protections for whistleblowers. This is up from four countries in mid-2015, thanks to laws passing or taking effect in Albania, Macedonia and Montenegro. This number could rise soon, with policy-makers and activists working to develop new laws in Croatia and Moldova.

Among the 10 countries, only in Bulgaria is there little momentum to strengthening whistleblower rights. In countries where laws recently were passed – particularly in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia – activists and journalists are closely monitoring whether whistleblowers are benefiting from their enhanced rights. In several countries, research and anecdotal evidence show that new laws do not
always protect citizens and employees from being fired, demoted, harassed, sued or
even prosecuted. These findings are being leveraged to close dangerous legislative gaps
that expose whistleblowers to career, personal and financial ruin.