Towards a Common Screening System of Foreign Direct Investment on National Interests Grounds in the European Union

Culture, Media and Entertainment Law, Vol. 11, No 2, 2018

22 Pages Posted: 8 Nov 2018

See all articles by Carlos Esplugues

Carlos Esplugues

University of Valencia - Faculty of Law

Date Written: October 16, 2018


Until 2009, the legal regime of international investments in the EU was characterised by its very high degree of fragmentation due to the complex division of competences between the EU and its member states. While the former has mainly intervened to promote greater liberalisation of capital markets, member states have usually been concerned with the post-establishment aspects of international investments. Only since 2009, with the entrance into force of the Treaty of Lisbon and the consequent extension of the Common Commercial Policy (CCP) to cover FDI, has the EU has gained full competence in FDI. However, the exclusive competence of the EU as regards FDI is still under construction and its full implementation by the EU will take time.

Fears about Chinese State Controlled Enterprises (SCEs) have increased steadily in Europe over time. There are growing concerns about investment projects from this and other countries, in many cases sovereign-driven investment, targeting certain strategic areas of the EU economy. This situation has supported the debate about the need for a common EU response to foreign investment in certain strategic sectors. Growing concerns about the potential control of large areas of the economy of EU member states by foreign corporations have increased the popularity in some EU countries of national screening systems to determine on the grounds of national interests what FDI is and is not acceptable: France or Germany are good examples of this move. At the same time, FDI originating from the PRC and other emerging countries has provided a forceful push for the development of a common European screening system to evaluate FDI on national security grounds. EU and national authorities are aware of the fact that foreign investors are in many cases interested in acquiring certain technology or patents rather than in running a firm. In order to prevent this situation, the Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a framework for screening of foreign direct investments into the European Union was published by the European Commission on 13 September 2017. This article analyses in depth the Proposal and its relationship with the development of the EU Common Policy on Investment.

Keywords: Foreign direct investment, control of foreign investment, screening systems of evaluation of foreign investment, European commercial and investment common policy, national security

JEL Classification: E22, D92, E61, G24, H56, O50, P33, P45

Suggested Citation

Esplugues, Carlos, Towards a Common Screening System of Foreign Direct Investment on National Interests Grounds in the European Union (October 16, 2018). Culture, Media and Entertainment Law, Vol. 11, No 2, 2018, Available at SSRN:

Carlos Esplugues (Contact Author)

University of Valencia - Faculty of Law ( email )

Avda. de los Naranjos s/n
Valencia, Valencia E-46022
34963828551 (Phone)
34963828552 (Fax)

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