The EU is the world’s main source of and main destination for foreign direct investment (FDI). Inward and outward FDI play a fundamental role for generating sustainable economic growth, business opportunities, employment, technological development and innovation. Attracting increased FDI flows is also of key importance to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly in developing countries. Furthermore, boosting sustainable investment to Africa is one of the actions proposed in the EU’s Communication Towards a comprehensive Strategy with Africa.

The EU has one of the world’s most open and transparent regimes for FDI. FDI stocks held by third country investors in the EU amount to around €6,295 billion. Businesses or individuals invest in another country to locate their production in cost-efficient or high-skills locations, to source components or raw materials or to get closer to their customers. In the case of the EU, this means access to a highly integrated Single Market made up of 500 million consumers.

The EU maintains high standards for protecting investment in its territory and in return seeks a similar attractive investment environment for EU investments and investors abroad. 

Investing in the EU

If you wish to invest in the EU, you will find here the relevant links to the websites of the EU Member States investment Promotion Agencies that provide information on the investment opportunities, the steps to be taken, and the applicable rules.

Investing abroad

FDI stocks held in the rest of the world by investors resident in the EU amounted to €7,412 billion at the end of 2017. EU investment policy is pursued through the negotiation (e.g. Australia, China, Indonesia and Japan) and implementation of bilateral agreements or through cooperation in international fora (e.g. OECD, UNCTAD, Energy Charter Treaty and WTO). In its investment policy, the EU aims at

  • securing a level of playing field so that EU investors can access foreign markets, are not discriminated or mistreated
  • making it easier to invest so that EU investors abroad may benefit from a more predictable and transparent business environment
  • promoting investment that supports sustainable development, respect for human rights and high labour and environmental standards
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