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Investment Screening

A mechanism whereby states screen investment in critical sectors that affect security and public order.

The investment in the following five sectors are deemed important to national security and worth protecting.

1 critical infrastructure (‘whether physical or virtual, including energy, transport, water, health communications, media, data processing or storage, aerospace, defence electoral and financial infrastructure, sensitive facilities as well as land and real estate crucial to such infrastructure’) (in the EU Art 4 1(a))

2 critical and strategic technologies (‘AI,  robotics, semiconductors, cyber security, aerospace, defence, energy storage, , nuclear technologies as well as nano/bio/ technologies’) (in the EU Art 4.1(b))

3 important inputs (commodities, raw materials, agriculture etc.) (in the EU Art 4.1(c))

4 access and ability to control sensitive information (health or large-scale sensitive data) (in the EU Art 4.1(d))

5 media freedom and pluralism (in the EU Art 4.1.(e))

Australia, US were leading countries for this initiative, and the EU has followed suit with some countries (Germany, France and UK) more keen for the initiative leading domestic legislation on investment screening.


The investment screening mechanism is a bottom-up approach, leaving implementation national level. There are dual tracks that exist at the national level and at the European Commission level. The regulation applies to screen investments which will affect security and public order. For example, threats to supply lines and criminal activity. This does not apply to portfolio investments.

A cooperation mechanism was set up with the Regulation (effective from April 2019 and implemented from October 2020) where member states will have to the commission of their intention to screen investments and invite comments from other states.




Foreign Investment Review Board





Committee on Foreign Investment

A US multi-agency committee that vets foreign investment to make sure it does not compromise national security