Foreign investment control: Analysis and practical views on the scope of the French and European mechanisms

The recent period has been marked by a thorough reform of the French foreign investment control regime and the entry into force of the first EU foreign direct investment screening mechanism. Both evidence the overall strengthening of the protection of strategic assets within Member States and at the EU level in the name of security and public order. The application of such measures also raises some questions and practical implications. A few key elements should be kept in mind when assessing M&A transactions from the perspective of foreign investment control.

I. The “screening” of foreign investments in the EU: An unprecedented cooperation between the Member States and the Commission for the protection of European strategic assets 1. The entry into force of the first EU-wide foreign investment screening mechanism 1. With a foreign direct investment (“FDI”) screening mechanism in the EU, the European Commission (the “Commission”) adds a string to the European bow to protect legitimate interests such as public order and public security—and not only competition—in the framework of M&A transactions. The implementation of a merger control mechanism at the European level took place more than twenty years ago, with the entry into force of the first Community regulation in January 1990. As a pillar of the EU’s competition policy, merger control

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