STRASBOURG, Sept. 13 (Xinhua) -- The European Union (EU)'s executive chief proposed the establishment of a new EU framework for screening foreign investment in response to the calls from Germany, France and Italy for vetting takeovers in the bloc's sensitive sectors.
"Europe must always defend its strategic interests," European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told European lawmakers in his State of Union speech.
Juncker said if a foreign, state-owned company wanted to purchase the bloc's sensitive assets such as harbor, part of energy infrastructure or a defence technology firm, "this should only happen in transparency, with scrutiny and debate."
"It is a political responsibility to know what is going on in our own backyard so that we can protect our collective security if needed," Juncker said.
The executive chief did not explicate the new EU framework. EU officials reportedly said that the framework would focus on improving coordination between EU member states.
The executive body would give non-binding opinions if some takeovers in sensitive sectors raise security concerns for member states. On the other hand, EU member states could comply or state their reasons.
Media reported that Germany, France and Italy have petitioned the Commission to allow member states to block foreign companies' acquisitions of European know-how.
In June's EU summit, the European Council asked the Commission to analyze non-EU investment in the bloc's strategic sectors.