EC: We Should Protect Our Economic Sovereignty
The European Commission calls on EU countries to monitor foreign direct investment in EU companies of key sectors, such as strategically important infrastructure or medicine, to protect the EU’s economic sovereignty against the backdrop of problems due to coronavirus, said EC President Ursula von der Leyen.
“The coronavirus crisis has had a profound impact on the European economy. Many companies are temporarily weakened by this crisis. We need to take care of them. Some sectors are key to our security, healthcare and sovereignty, such as healthcare and medical research, strategic infrastructure. They require special attention,” she said in a video message posted on EC resources.
In view of this, monitoring of foreign direct investment in the EU is necessary, she said. “We need to know who is investing in these companies from abroad and for what purpose… We must protect our key assets and technologies. We have the means to do this, and I urge the EU countries to use them,” said von der Leyen.
According to her, the European Commission on Wednesday issued instructions on foreign direct investment, on how to help the Union states look at such investments, acquisitions of control or influence over European companies. “Many states have national tracking mechanisms, and I urge countries to use them. For those countries that do not have such mechanisms, I say it’s time to create them,” she said.
“You must use all means to protect key European companies from foreign acquisitions or influences that could undermine our security,” she said. Moreover, such measures should be taken in accordance with EU law and international obligations, Head of the European Commission added. The EU, however, remains open to foreign direct investment, she added. “But we need to balance this openness with the need to protect our economic sovereignty,” said von der Leyen.