The Council of the European Union primed rules to scrutinise direct investments, including takeover proposals, from countries outside the region on the grounds of security or public order.
“This is the first time that the EU is equipping itself with such a comprehensive framework, while its major trading partners already have comparable rules in place,” the EU Council said in a statement.
Ștefan-Radu Oprea, EU Council President (pictured) added: “The new rules on the screening of investments will ensure that openness goes hand-in-hand with sensible protection of our strategic assets”.
In its statement, the council explained member states will retain the power to review and block foreign direct investment, while the European Commission will be allowed to issue opinions in cases concerning several member states, or when an investment could affect a project or programme of interest to the whole EU.
The regulation will be published on 21 March, with the new rules set to be passed 20 days later and be applied in a further 18 months.
Meanwhile in the Netherlands, the government submitted a law to parliament that would give it the power to block takeovers of telecom companies if they were considered a threat to national security, Reuters reported.
The government has been wanting to do this since 2013, when Mexico-based America Movil tried to buy the country’s top operator, KPN.
“Internet, data traffic and telephone services are basic needs”, Deputy Economy Minister Mona Keijzer said. “We therefore want to protect this vital sector against unwanted influences.”Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back