In 2017 the European Commission has made public a legislative proposal on the establishment of a framework for screening of foreign direct investments into the European Union. On the EESC site there is the following summary:
The proposal aims to enable the EU Member States and the Commission to screen foreign direct investment on the grounds of security or public order. Investments will be screened if they are related to critical technologies, critical infrastructure, security of supply of critical products , or if they give access of the investor to control of sensitive information or if the investor is controlled by the Government of another country. The screening is done by the Member state receiving the investment in cooperation with the Commission and other members states except for investments that affect projects or programmes of Union interest in the area of research (Horizon 2020), space (Galileo), and transport, energy and telecommunication networks (Trans-European Networks – TEN), which will be screened by the Commission.
In article 4 of the proposal of September 2017 the factors to be taken into consideration in the screening are mentioned:
Factors that may be taken into consideration in the screening
In screening a foreign direct investment on the grounds of security or public order, Member States and the Commission may consider the potential effects on, inter alia:
–critical infrastructure, including energy, transport, communications, data storage, space or financial infrastructure, as well as sensitive facilities; .
–critical technologies, including artificial intelligence, robotics, semiconductors, technologies with potential dual use applications, cybersecurity, space or nuclear technology; .
–the security of supply of critical inputs; or .
–access to sensitive information or the ability to control sensitive information. .
In determining whether a foreign direct investment is likely to affect security or public order, Member States and the Commission may take into account whether the foreign investor is controlled by the government of a third country, including through significant funding.
On 5 April 2018 the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) has published an opinion, proposing many amendments.
- ECON opinion of 5 April 2018.
- Proposal of the European Commission of 13 September 2017.
- EUR-Lex file COM (2017) 487.
- In February 2018 there was a EESC hearing regarding the proposal.
Addition 14 June 2018
Press release of 13 June 2018: “Screening of investments: Council agrees its negotiating stance“. See also this factsheet.