Foreign firms wanting to buy a French company will have to get the approval of the Economy Minister Arnaud Montebourg from now on.
A government decree allows him to block takeovers in “strategic” sectors, which could prevent General Electric’s bid for Alstom’s energy business.
The decree, extending an existing 2005 law, covers energy, transport, water, health and telecommunications.
Pierre Gattaz, the head of the French employers organisation MEDEF, called it a “bad idea”. He said it was “a belated response to a structural problem.”
And the EU’s Internal Market Commissioner Michel Barnier said Brussels will look closely at this to make sure it’s not “an obstacle to the free movement of capital”.
Barnier said: “This will be studied carefully in the context of European legislation.”