European Business Law Review

Volume 27 (2016)

Volume 27 (2016) / Issue 4

Daniele Gallo, 'The Rise of Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWFs) and the Protection of Public Interest(s): The Need for a Greater External and Internal Action of the European Union' (2016) 27 European Business Law Review, Issue 4, pp. 459–485


This article focuses on the so-called ‘sovereign investors’ (i.e., sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) and state owned enterprises (SOEs)). It is based on the assumption that sovereign investment has become a major – albeit controversial – element in emerging patterns of global governance in this century. At the heart of the paper lies the need that sovereign investors shall be regulated by pursuing a fair balance between protection of general/public interests and attraction of foreign capital.

The essay deals with the main concerns related to the rise of SWFs. In this respect, the principal argument implied therein is that the quest for an equilibrium between economic benefits deriving from the entry of SWFs in the EU market and the protection of national as well as European strategic/sensitive sectors must be reached at the EU level rather than solely at the national level and that, in doing so, the EU must be more activist and bolder.

The EU should give law a central role, regarding the market as an inherently political, institutional and social construct, rather than a self-referential locus that depends on its internal laws and dynamics. This seems even more urgent when market actors that, at least on paper, should be politically unbiased market-oriented investors, tend to act also as the long arm of State capitalism, that is, of foreign governments wishing to invest abroad in crucial socio-economic sectors and often connected with countries where the rule of law, in its multiple dimensions, is neither sufficiently promoted nor respected.

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ISSN: 0959-6941
ID: EULR2016020