The pandemic’s effect on FDI screening mechanisms

During 2020 the Covid-19 pandemic affected strongly the foreign direct investment screening mechanisms of many countries. In Italy the reforms widened the scope of the screening mechanism by including activities related to the banking and insurance sectors and they also introduced the possibility to review investments coming from other EU’s member States. In France the thresholds to activate the control mechanism were lowered, the Minister of economy received the power to unilaterally modify agreements previously reached with investors and new protected sectors were added. In Germany the reforms allowed to start the screening procedure because of a mere risk for national security (before a serious menace was needed) and the investments are now completely suspended during the procedure. These and other reforms testify a growing attitude towards protectionism that should be interesting to analyze to fully understand how the role of the State is changing because of the pandemic.