‘Investment Screening’ refers to a procedure allowing the State to assess, investigate, authorise, condition, prohibit or unwind foreign direct investments based on a range of security and public order criteria.
The Department is responsible for implementing the EU Regulation “Establishing a framework for the screening of foreign direct investments into the Union”. It will act as Ireland’s National Contact Point for cooperation with the European Commission and with other EU member States on investment screening matters.
The EU Regulation
The EU Investment Screening Regulation, which will apply from 11 October 2020, is a response to the growing concerns amongst Member States about the purchase of strategic European companies by foreign-owned firms from third countries.
The Regulation creates a European framework for screening foreign direct investment where there are concerns that an investment may pose a risk to security or public order in the host Member State, or to other Member States. This framework is intended as a cooperation mechanism through which Member States and the European Commission can exchange information and raise specific concerns about a foreign direct investment from third countries on security or public order grounds.
Full text of the Investment Screening Regulation and a useful Commission Factsheet
Recent EU Developments
In response to the increased risks arising as a result of the COVID-19, the European Commission has identified that, amongst the possible consequences of the current economic shock, is an increased potential risk to European strategic industries, in particular but by no means limited to healthcare-related industries. In response, the European Commission issued guidelines to ensure a strong EU-wide approach to foreign investment screening in a time of public health crisis and related economic vulnerability. The aim is to preserve EU companies and critical assets, notably in areas such as health, medical research, biotechnology and infrastructures that are essential for our security and public order, without undermining the EU’s general openness to foreign investment.
European Commission guidance on FDI in advance of Investment Screening Regulation
Domestic Policy Developments
Public Consultation on Investment Screening
The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation held a public consultation on Ireland’s implementation of the EU Regulation on Investment Screening in May 2020. This consultation will help to inform the policy position that Ireland adopts in relation to the Regulation, with particular consideration given to the potential establishment of an Investment Screening mechanism in Ireland.
Investment Screening consultation and submissions received
European Commission Screening of Foreign Direct Investment
OECD Investment policies related to national security and public order