Europe To Allow Member States To Make Own Huawei 5G Decision

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Image credit: European Commission

More bad news for the United States, as European Union follows Britain’s lead in resisting US pressure to ban Chinese firm outright

The European Union has now issued its guidance and the role that ‘high-risk’ vendors should play in European 5G networks.

The guidance comes just a day after the British government officially approved Huawei’s involvement in 5G networks in the United Kingdom.

However, the UK designated Huawei as a “high risk vendor” and as such the Chinese firm will be excluded from core parts of the network including all safety critical networks.

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European Guidance

And it seems as though the EU guidance (called the EU toolbox) follows the British lead, in resisting intense pressure from the United States, which had been seeking to get allies to ban the Chinese firm outright.

The EU also states that members can decide what part Huawei can play in its 5G telecoms networks.

Member states should agree on the best way to secure their 5G networks by 30 April, the EC said.

In its guidelines to address security risks related to the rollout of 5G, the European Commission asked that member states should agree on the best way to secure their 5G networks by 30 April.

“We can do great things with 5G,” explained Margrethe Vestager, executive VP for a Europe Fit for the Digital Age. “The technology supports personalised medicines, precision agriculture and energy grids that can integrate all kinds of renewable energy. This will make a positive difference. But only if we can make our networks secure. Only then will the digital changes benefit all citizens.”

“Europe has everything it takes to lead the technology race. Be it developing or deploying 5G technology – our industry is already well off the starting blocks,” added Thierry Breton, Commissioner for the Internal Market.

“Today we are equipping EU Member States, telecoms operators and users with the tools to build and protect a European infrastructure with the highest security standards so we all fully benefit from the potential that 5G has to offer,” he said.

The Commission guidelines are non binding, and it has called on member states to strengthen security requirements for equipment suppliers, as well as assess the risk of suppliers.

It said the member states should restrict suppliers considered to be high-risk, and reveal exclusions for key assets considered as critical.

It also asked that there be a legal or regulatory framework established to control the use of outsourced suppliers, and telecom operators should provide detailed data on sourcing of 5G equipment.

American response

Meanwhile the United States on Wednesday urged Britain to rethink its decision to allow China’s Huawei a role in 5G networks, Reuters reported.

The US Secretary of State urged the UK to look again at its Huawei decision.

“There is also a chance for the United Kingdom to relook at this as implementation moves forward,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters as he flew to London.

“We will make sure that when American information passes across a network we are confident that that network is a trusted one,” he reportedly said. “Our view of Huawei is: putting it in your system creates real risk.”

Pompeo is due to arrive in London on Wednesday, where he is expected to meet his British counterpart Dominic Raab as well as Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

He said telecoms and security would be “part of the conversation”.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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