In February 2017, three Member States (France, Germany and Italy) sent a letter to the European Commission demanding greater EU powers to control, and if necessary block, third country takeovers. This because many European companies face restriction to buy foreign companies. But this is not the case with foreign firms. On the contrary, they are increasingly buying European firms, in key strategic sectors.
In the recent European Summit, Member States welcomed the European Commission’s proposal to analyse investments from third countries in key and sensitive sectors. Overall, Member States support the European Commission to have some role in screening investments. Yet Member States oppose giving the European Commission veto powers. Member States wish to retain the power to assess and protect key sectors.
The EU is determined to improve further the framework to control strategic investments. We expect further details in the field of foreign investments in September. Further information will emerge on what the EU mechanism would entail and how it would work in practice, next to the national screening competences.