Answer given by Executive Vice-President Dombrovskis on behalf of the European Commission
The screening of foreign direct investments (FDI) requires a maximum of reliable information on foreign investors. However, official statistics only provide information on FDI in EU by the direct investor, which may differ from the ultimate owner. In view of this, in 2017 the Commission has developed a new database using firm level data. This database, also used for the report on FDI in the EU is based on commercially available sources and it covers all countries or origin. It provides fact-based information on the nationality of the final owner and its type (including state ownership). The analysis by the consulting firm Datenna appears to cover only China, its sources of raw data are unclear and it seems to use an undisclosed algorithm to determine the degree of ‘state influence’ in private companies, in ways that might not be directly equal to state ownership.
Eurostat follows up on the quality of the FDI data delivered by EU Member States in the annual quality report including the completeness and timeliness of the data. In cooperation with the Member States, Eurostat has conducted a pilot study on annual FDI statistics based on the ultimate ownership concept and FDI statistics distinguishing greenfield FDI transactions from takeovers. The project also provides for collecting data on FDI positions by ultimate investor. The first release of such data is planned for 2021.
The Commission continues monitoring FDI trends and the FDI Screening Regulation provides that Member States report annually to the Commission on FDI in their territory.
-  COMMISSION STAFF WORKING DOCUMENT on FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT IN THE EU Following up on the Commission Communication ‘Welcoming Foreign Direct Investment while Protecting Essential Interests’ of 13 September 2017, SWD(2019) 108 final
-  The underlying firm level data (Orbis and Zephyr databases from Bureau Van Dyck) contain publicly available balance sheets.
-  Regulation (EC) No 184/2005 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 January 2005 on Community statistics concerning balance of payments, international trade in services and foreign direct investment
-  SWD(2019) 408 final
-  Regulation (EU) 2019/452 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 March 2019 establishing a framework for the screening of foreign direct investments into the Union