A Romanian government order has called on intelligence services to scrutinize non-EU investors who want to invest more than two million euros in the country.
A committee made of the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI), the Foreign Intelligence Service (SIE) and a range of ministries will investigate potential investors.
According to Romanian media, the move is a bid to protect “the essential interests of security and public order,” as well as comply with EU regulation aiming to establish a framework for assessing foreign direct investment within the bloc.
Under the new rules, non-EU investors who hope to invest more than two million euros in industries such as energy, transport, telecommunications, banking, agriculture or the media must first apply for authorisation.
The commission will then evaluate the application before the government decides to approve or reject the bid for investment. This decision can then be challenged in court.
Representatives of the SRI and SIE will not vote on applications, but will provide their evaluations.
Potential non-EU investors in Romanian media must also provide additional information about their own dealings, in addition to standard verifications required of most businesses. Media spending in Romania in recent years has heightened concerns over independence and misleading reporting.
In the same time, funding concerns have given rise to government efforts to support investment in certain sectors.
Earlier this month, the Romanian government adopted new legislation to expedite investment projects in transport infrastrastructure due to increased concerns the country may lose EUR 12.7 billion awarded by the EU through the Recovery and Resilience Facility unless it implements projected investments by deadlines set in the National Resilience and Recovery Plan (NRRP).
Romania has allocated a total of EUR 10 billion for transport projects to be financed by both EU funds and NRRP funds. Despite this financing, no NRRP-funded contracts have yet been signed. According to the new measures, contracting authorities now have the right to use direct negotiation procedures in cases of extreme urgency, and make direct payments to suppliers and subcontractors.
Romania’s finance minister Adrian Câciu has also raised the possibility of relocating companies from Russia, Belarus and Ukraine to Romania. Speaking with a delegation of the World Bank Group, he called for financial and logistical support from the World Bank to facilitate this transfer.
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