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ECB upgrades whistleblowing framework

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The European Central Bank on Wednesday unveiled an enhanced internal whistleblowing framework designed to help employees flag wrongdoing without fearing retaliation for their own careers.

[FRANKFURT AM MAIN] The European Central Bank on Wednesday unveiled an enhanced internal whistleblowing framework designed to help employees flag wrongdoing without fearing retaliation for their own careers.

In a statement, the ECB said the tool would "enable staff to speak up in confidence" and anonymously if they detected suspected wrongdoing and highlight "potential breaches of professional duties... or other irregularities."

"Acting in an ethical manner goes beyond a mere compliance with law, rules and policies. It is a commitment guiding our behaviour and driving us to make the right choice even if we are faced with challenges or put under pressure," ECB president Christine Lagarde said.

"The new whistleblowing framework reinforces the ECB's dedication to its shared values and encourages staff to speak up in full confidence."

The ECB said the tool would be activated before year's end and complement an existing reporting mechanism, bolstering its commitment "to promoting integrity, good corporate governance and the highest ethical standards" in line with new EU directives.

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However, Carlos Bowles of the ECB staff union IPSO told AFP he was concerned the bank was not extending protection to whistleblowing in public - something stipulated by the EU directive.

Mr Boles recalled the 1999 case of Paul van Buitenen, then an assistant auditor at the European Commission, who highlighted irregularities inside the European executive which led to his initial suspension - although the Commission team ultimately resigned.

IPSO chairman Emmanuel Larue also voiced doubts over the efficacy of the new mechanism, suggesting the ECB wanted to "avoid the possibility of public debate" over allegations of wrongdoing.

AFP

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