What We Do

Investment screening

‘Investment screening’ refers to a procedure allowing the State to assess, investigate, authorise, condition or prohibit foreign direct investments based on a range of security and public order criteria. The department is responsible for implementing the EU regulation “establishing a framework for the screening of foreign direct investments into the Union”. It acts as Ireland’s National Contact Point for cooperation with the European Commission and with other EU Member States on investment screening matters. The Investment Screening Unit can be contacted at investmentscreening@enterprise.gov.ie.

The EU regulation

The EU Investment Screening Regulation applies from 11 October 2020. The regulation is a response to the growing concerns amongst Member States about the purchase of strategic European companies by foreign-owned firms from third countries.

The regulation creates a European framework for screening foreign direct investment where there are concerns that an investment may pose a risk to security or public order in the host Member State, or to other Member States. This framework is intended as a cooperation mechanism through which Member States and the European Commission can exchange information and raise specific concerns about a foreign direct investment from third countries on security or public order grounds.

The Annex to the regulation contains a list of EU projects and programmes of particular interest from an Investment Screening perspective. This Annex is kept under review to ensure it remains up to date. In this context, the Annex has been revised, and from 23 December 2021, new sectoral projects and programmes under the new Multiannual Financial Framework for the period between 2021 and 2027 are included.

In November 2021, the Commission published the first Annual Report on the application of the Screening Regulation, summarising key FDI trends, looking at legislative trends across Member States, and providing an overview of screening activities by those Member States who currently have screening mechanisms in place. The second Annual Report – along with a Commission Staff Working Document containing more detailed data on foreign investments, as well as additional details on legislative developments in all Member States, was published in September 2022.

The Regulation is subject to an evaluation by the European Commission in October 2023. To inform this exercise, the Commission commissioned the OECD to undertake an analysis of the effectiveness and efficiency of the EU framework for cooperation, as established by the Regulation. The OECD report is available at Assessing effectiveness and efficiency (PDF) (oecd.org). A public consultation exercise is being conducted by the Commission as part of this review, with contributions due by 14 July 2023. Details on the consultation are available from Screening of FDI – evaluation and possible revision of the current EU framework and details relating to the Commission’s 'call for evidence' can be found on Screening of FDI – evaluation and revision of the EU framework.

Related documentsFull text of the Investment Screening Regulation, revised Annex, Commission Factsheet and related reports

Overview of EU FDI Screening Regulation

Watch on YouTube: Overview of the EU FDI Screening Regulation

Recent EU developments

In response to the increased risks arising as a result of COVID-19, the European Commission has identified that, amongst the possible consequences of the current economic shock, is an increased potential risk to European strategic industries, in particular but by no means limited to healthcare-related industries. In response, the European Commission issued guidelines to ensure a strong EU-wide approach to foreign investment screening in a time of public health crisis and related economic vulnerability. The aim is to preserve EU companies and critical assets, notably in areas such as health, medical research, biotechnology and infrastructures that are essential for our security and public order, without undermining the EU’s general openness to foreign investment.

European Commission guidance on FDI in advance of Investment Screening Regulation

On 5 April 2022, the European Commission published new guidance for EU Member States relating to foreign direct investment (“FDI“) from Russia and Belarus (the “Guidance“). 

The Guidance aims to address the heightened risk that investments subject to the Russian or Belarussian government may pose to security or public order in the EU, especially with investments into critical assets in the EU. The Commission calls upon Member States to ensure effective FDI screening mechanisms are in place and to enhance cooperation between authorities involved in FDI screenings and those responsible for the enforcement of sanctions.

European Commission guidance on FDI from Russia and Belarus (europa.eu)

Domestic policy developments

Public consultation on Investment Screening

The department held a public consultation on Ireland’s implementation of the EU Regulation on Investment Screening in May 2020. This consultation has helped to inform Ireland’s policy position in relation to the regulation, with particular consideration given to the establishment of an Investment Screening mechanism in Ireland.

Investment Screening consultation and submissions received

Domestic legislation

In July 2020, the government agreed to draft legislation which will give effect to a European Union regulation to screen foreign direct investment coming into Ireland. The Screening of Third Country Transactions Bill will give full effect to EU Regulation 2019/452 and will allow Ireland to screen investments from non-EU countries for the first time. Government approval to publish the Bill was received in June 2022, and the Bill and an accompanying Explanatory Memo were published on 2 August 2022. The Bill completed second stage in the Dáil on 21 September 2022 and was considered by the Dáil Committee on Enterprise, Trade and Employment on 25 January 2023. A number of technical amendments were agreed at this stage. The most recent version of the Bill, as amended by the Committee is available here:

Screening of Third Country Transactions Bill 2022

Once enacted, this legislation will empower the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment to respond to threats to Ireland’s security and public order posed by particular types of foreign investment, and to prevent or mitigate such threats. Under the proposed legislation, the Minister will be able to assess, investigate, authorise, condition or prohibit foreign investments from outside of the EU, based on a range of security and public order criteria.

Related press releases

Tánaiste to publish bill to allow Ireland screen investments from non-EU countries

Government agrees EU Regulation to screen Foreign Direct Investment

Personal data

Privacy is important to us, and we are fully committed to processing and keeping any personal information we receive safely. Our privacy notice is intended to provide information about the personal data we may collect and about how that data may be used and shared in the context of the processing activities undertaken by the Investment Screening Unit. This notice also sets out the privacy rights connected with the collection of such data. Should you wish to familiarise yourself on how and why we may collect this personal data you can view our privacy notice.

For further information on the department's policies in relation to data protection, see Data Protection.

Quick links

Investment screening (europa.eu)

OECD Investment policies related to national security and public order (oecd.org)