Macron misses goal of screening foreign investment in the EU

Macron misses goal of screening foreign investment in the EU

European leaders fell short of a consensus to screen foreign investments at their summit in Brussels today but called for more reciprocity and better trade defenses.

French President Emmanuel Macron wanted EU leaders to jointly call on the European Commission to examine “ways to screen investments from third countries in strategic sectors,†but that line did not make it into the final conclusions of the European Council summit.

Instead, the watered-down conclusions say that leaders welcome an initiative by the Commission “to analyze investments from third countries in strategic sectors,” while there is no reference to any screening of acquisitions from abroad.

Macron’s plan, which in particular intended to prevent Chinese state-owned companies from snatching high-tech companies in the EU, had raised opposition in Northern and Eastern European countries.

“Poland will firmly oppose protectionist measures in the European Union,” Polish Prime Minister Beata SzydÅ‚o told reporters after the meeting.

Yet leaders agreed that the EU must quickly adopt new trade defenses measures that are in line with World Trade Organization rules. The European Commission should also increase the number of anti-dumping investigations, they demanded.

The EU must also “deepen and take forward the debate on how to enhance reciprocity in the fields of public procurement and investment,” the conclusions said. The text also welcomed “the progress achieved recently in the negotiations with Japan” and said that “reciprocity and mutual benefits” must be “guiding principles” in all EU trade negotiations.

Joanna Plucinska contributed reporting.