The European parliament voted heavily in favour of a comprehensive new plan to tighten screening of foreign investments into the bloc, particularly as an increasing numbers of Chinese-backed deals stoke fears of threats to strategic industries, Reuters reports.
The bill won 500 votes for and just 49 against, with 56 abstentions.
Although China itself was not mentioned, it is believed that surging investments from Chinese firms, particularly state-backed firms, has triggered the demand for heightened scrutiny. Policymakers fear that greater influence in sectors responsible for key technologies could undermine competitiveness and national security.
“All the powers in the world – the US, Canada, Japan to China – have had their systems of screening, the US with CFIUS since 1975. Only Europe had no screening system,” said Frank Proust, the MEP who led the drafting of the plan.
“We’re not looking to bar foreign investment. It is essential for EU countries, we need it. It’s to pay attention to the investments that are strange, that do not make economic sense but are political.”