Introduces screening regime for non-EU FDI that may affect national security and public order

01 Jul 2023

Effective from July 1, 2023, Belgium has enacted a screening mechanism for Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) that could potentially impact national security, public order, or strategic interests. Non-EU investors falling under this mandatory regime are required to inform and seek prior approval, with the possibility of ex officio assessment for up to two years after the transaction. The regime encompasses various investments, such as:

  • Acquisitions of a minimum of 10 per cent of voting rights in Belgian target companies operating in defense sectors, including dual-use products, energy dual-use, energy, cyber security, electronic communication, or digital infrastructures.

  • Acquisition of at least 25 per cent of voting rights in Belgian target companies engaged in activities related to critical infrastructures, digital infrastructures, media, data processing or storage, aeronautics, space and defense, electoral or financial infrastructure, sensitive facilities, and land and real estate crucial for the use of such infrastructures.

  • Investments in technologies and raw materials essential for safety (including health), defense, maintenance of public order, military equipment, dual-use items, and strategic technologies (and related IP rights), such as AI, robotics, semiconductors, cybersecurity, aerospace, defense, energy storage, quantum and nuclear technologies, and nanotechnologies.

  • Supply of critical inputs, access to sensitive information and personal data, or the capability to control such information, and investments in the private security sector, freedom, and pluralism of media, as well as strategic technologies in the biotechnology sector, among others.

The outcome of the screening process could result in three types of decisions by the authorized authority:

  • A positive decision granting approval for the FDI
  • A positive decision with corrective measures to address any identified concerns
  • A negative decision rejecting the FDI

Foreign investors who fail to comply with the screening procedures may face fines of up to 30 per cent of the value of the FDI.