EU wants to screen outbound investments of European companies for security risks
The European Commission on Tuesday presented its long-awaited economic security strategy, which aims to defend and strengthen the EU's economic interests in the context of geopolitical tensions and rapid technological change. By the end of the year, there should be a concrete proposal to screen outbound investments by European companies for security risks.
The economic security strategy announced months ago by Commission president Ursula von der Leyen is now on the table. The document does not mention China and other competitors, but in the preamble, the Commission makes it clear that Europe needs to steer its own course more. The "risks resulting from economic ties we took for granted in the past" must be reduced, the text reads.
For now, the strategy consists of a 14-page paper submitted to member states and the European Parliament for discussion, which will be discussed for the first time by heads of state and government at the European summit on 29 and 30 June. The Commission wants a list of technologies considered crucial for the EU's economic security to be drawn up.
"In some cases, the leakage of technological information risks enhancing the military or security capabilities of those who might use it to undermine peace and security"
This should prevent European technology which can be used for both civilian and military purposes from falling into the wrong hands. That is why the Commission wants to work with member states to identify the risks of outbound investments by European companies - i.e. in third countries. "In some cases, the leakage of technological information risks enhancing the military or security capabilities of those who might use it to undermine peace and security."
With the Commission partially encroaching on the territory of member states, next Thursday's discussion promises to be a delicate one. By the end of the year, the Commission intends to flesh things out in more detail.
EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen © PHOTO KENZO TRIBOUILLARD / AFP