Has Croatia implemented FDI screening mechanism?
On 2 October 2020 the Regulation on the Implementation of the EU Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Screening Regulation (2019/452) (OJ L 79I, 21 March 2019) (the Implementing Regulation) entered into force.
The foreign investment clearance concept has not been regulated under Croatian law before and, even with the Implementation Regulation's entry into force, little has changed. Foreign investors are generally equal to domestic entities, with all of the rights and obligations that apply to domestic investors. The few existing de jure exceptions to national treatment are limited to foreign ownership restrictions in a handful of sectors – namely, in legal services, freshwater fisheries and air transport – and are mainly dependant on the reciprocity principle.
Although there is no FDI filing requirement, the Implementing Regulation has established the National Contact Point and the Interdepartmental Commission, which will act as the competent authorities for a coordination mechanism under the EU FDI Screening Regulation. The National Contact Point will thus be vested with the power to request information from a foreign investor making an investment in Croatia or an undertaking located in Croatia in which an FDI is planned to be made in. The foreign investor or Croatian undertaking must submit the requested information to the National Contact Point within seven days of receiving the request. However, the Implementing Regulation provides no penalties for non-compliance with the time limits. On the other hand, the Interdepartmental Commission's main task is to:
- coordinate interdepartmental cooperation and the efficient flow of information between state and public administration bodies involved in the implementation of the EU FDI Screening Regulation; and
- provide expert assistance to the National Contact Point on all issues relating to the EU FDI Screening Regulation, in particular through the preparation of proposals, opinions and expert explanations.
In addition to the above, foreign investors must generally inform the Croatian National Bank of an investment within 30 days from the end of the month in which the investment was made (for statistical purposes).
This article was first published in International Law Office.
authors: Ana Marjančić and Srdjana Petronijević