Whistle-blowers in the European Union who expose fraud, tax evasion, data breaches and other misdeeds will be protected under new rules that EU officials are currently hammering out.

The new regulations were proposed by the European Commission last year. The aim is to bring in EU-wide rules requiring companies to set up internal channels for whistle-blowers and shield them from reprisals such as sackings, demotion and even litigation.

The Reuters news agency reported that the move follows criticism from transparency campaigners about the lack of EU protection for individuals who report such breaches, citing the prosecution of two whistle-blowers who leaked information in 2012 about Luxembourg’s illegal tax deals with large corporations.

Whistle-blower protection is currently handled by national authorities in the 28 EU states, resulting in largely different treatment, with no laws at all in some countries.

Luxembourg, Ireland and Hungary wanted whistleblowing on tax matters to be excluded from the protection regime, according to EU internal meeting minutes seen by Reuters.