Share article:
Share article:

Security: Belgium will screen foreign investments

Justice minister Vincent Van Quickenborne (Open VLD) © Belga

The Belgian authorities will begin screening all foreign investments in the country for a variety of security risks, justice minister Vincent Van Quickenborne (Open VLD) announced.

Security risks arising from foreign governments is a constant problem for Belgium’s intelligence services. Increasingly, however, inward investment into Belgium is being used as a cover for security breaches.

The plan is to set up an investment screening committee inside the federal economy ministry of Pierre-Yves Dermagne (PS), Van Quickenborne told De Tijd.

State Security will be one of the actors in the screening mechanism. It goes without saying that, for example, Chinese investment applications, certainly in our strategic sectors, are closely examined for links with the Chinese government or intelligence services.”

Already, 13 other European governments screen foreign investments, among them neighbours France, Germany and the Netherlands.

The aim is to protect our critical infrastructures, including those related to energy, transport, health, communications and defence. Foreign investors who want to gain control of a company and thereby acquire more than 25% of the voting rights, must register with the investment screening committee.”

The members of the committee will have access to a variety of information sources to be able to arrive at a decision, including both civilian and military intelligence. But the screening will concern only security risks, Van Quickenborne stressed.

It will disregard any element related to economic desirability,” he said. “There is also always an open dialogue with investors. If an investment could potentially damage public order and safety, it is examined to see whether measures are necessary to minimise that risk, without prohibiting the investment. So a ban will only be a last resort.”

The committee will be made up of permanent representatives of seven federal ministries: economy, finance, foreign affairs, mobility, defence, energy and public health. There will also be two ad hoc representatives from the region where the investment is planned.

Latest news

The Quiz: Chocolate, Christmas, and cocaine
Do you consider yourself a news buff? Someone constantly on top of what's going on in the country you now call home? Then maybe you have what it ...
Introduction of Covid Safe Ticket leads more in Brussels to get vaccinated
The introduction of the Covid Safe Ticket (CST) in the Brussels-Capital Region on 15 October seems to have lead to a higher number of residents ...
More and more testimonies, and a second rally against sexual violence in Brussels
A second rally against sexual violence was held in the Brussels neighbourhood of Ixelles on Thursday evening, and a sister-rally was held ...
Over 1,000 Covid-19 hospitalisations for first time since early June
The number of patients hospitalised in Belgium as a result of the coronavirus has again exceeded 1,000, climbing to 1,032, according to figures ...
Experts call for more widespread use of masks as figures rise
As coronavirus figures continue to rise, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo has suggested that people return to wearing masks when indoors with ...
Belgium wants to recover €420 million in wrongfully paid out coronavirus aid
The Belgian State intends to recover €420 million of unduly paid Covid-19 aid, La Libre Belgique reported on Thursday. The electronic Council of ...
Why the fight for transgender rights is polarising Europe 
Year after year, Samuel De Schepper would ask Santa Claus to bring him a penis for Christmas. Born female and attending an all girl’s Catholic ...
New offshore wind farm officially opened
Despite being operational since the end of 2020, the SeaMade offshore wind farm was officially inaugurated on Wednesday by Prime Minister Alexander ...
Contact tracers have no time for calls, only texts, amid rising cases
Contract tracers will no longer make phone calls to the high-risk contacts of people who test positive for the coronavirus beginning from Wednesday, ...
Belgium holds on to top spot in FIFA rankings despite recent losses
Once again, Belgium's Red Devils have held onto their position at the top of the world football rankings, according to an update released by the ...
Proximus pushes for high-speed internet in Brussels and Wallonia
Fifteen municipalities in Wallonia should soon have access to high-speed internet through the rollout of fibre optics in the region, telecoms giant ...
Why Belgium is regulating sex work
After decades of confusing rules and hypocritical policy, Belgium is finally regulating sex work by removing prostitution from the criminal law. ...