European Greens have today launched a new initiative to protect whistle-blowers so they can anonymously and securely leak information and expose wrong-doing. The launch is timed to coincide with the first meeting of the Parliament’s new Panama papers inquiry committee (PANA) which will investigate information about tax avoidance revealed in the Panama Papers leak.
Molly Scott Cato MEP, a member of the new PANA committee, is one of 12 Members of the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament who wanted to provide a secure online platform to enable whistleblowers to work securely in the public interest on issues such as tax justice and the protection of public health and the environment. Dr Scott Cato said:
“As MEPs, we have witnessed first-hand the lack of transparency that so often plagues EU decision making. Whether we are investigating tax or trade deals, or trying to determine whether a substance is safe for public use, we repeatedly find that we cannot access the information that we need to do our jobs properly and defend the public interest.
“The Panama Papers offer a perfect example of how vital the role of whistle-blowers can be, and the revelations of the more recent Bahamas Leaks show there’s still much more to be uncovered. British overseas territories and other ex-colonial territories were at the heart of the Panama papers and it is paramount that Britain’s tax arrangements continue to be properly scrutinized. We must ensure that Brexit is not allowed to enable the UK to become the biggest tax haven in the world.
“Politicians are running scared of a sceptical electorate and a more powerful media and hiding the vital information we need to be a successful democracy. Perhaps the most shocking example is the negotiations over our exit from the EU, which the prime minister has told us will take place entirely in secret. In this context politicians who seek to engage citizens in vital debates about our shared future have come to rely more and more on leaks of information and the courage of whistle-blowers.”
“Greens have always taken the issue of transparency and democracy very seriously; this is one of our key political priorities. At this juncture in the UK’s political history, it is critical that we do everything we can to tear down the walls of secrecy and encourage a spirit of openness.”