European Union proposes to block Huawei from 5G network

The European Union is considering proposals to block Huawei Technologies from selling equipment for 5G mobile networks, Reuters reported.
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The United States, which has tried to prevent American companies from buying mobile infrastructure equipment from Huawei, will support the latest proposal from the European Union.

Some of the US security experts are concerned the gear could be used by China’s government for espionage.

EU officials said one option under consideration by the European Commission is to amend a 2016 cybersecurity law, which requires businesses involved in critical infrastructure to take appropriate security measures.

By amending the definition of critical infrastructure to also include 5G mobile networks, the law would effectively prevent EU businesses from using such equipment provided by any country or company suspected of using its equipment for spying or sabotage, the officials said.

A Huawei spokeswoman said that “Huawei is open and committed to work with European institutions to develop a cyber security standard for Europe,” and added that the company’s opening of a new cyber security center in Brussels in March underlines its commitment to Europe.

European telecoms companies are preparing for the 5G technology. If EU decides to ban Huawei from supplying 5G network, it could be a setback for European efforts to stay competitive in 5G because it would likely lead to delays and extra costs in building out networks.

Vodafone CEO Nick Read already said Huawei is a leading telecom network supplier for most operators. Removal of Huawei from mobile phone networks in Europe will be a time consuming and costly initiative, Nick Read said.

Deutsche Telekom, Europe’s largest telecoms operator, on Wednesday proposed steps to ensure that Chinese vendors could take part in building Germany’s 5G mobile networks without jeopardizing national security.

According to an internal Commission document reviewed by Reuters, the EU shift has been prompted by changes to Chinese intelligence and security laws in recent years. The document said China’s National Intelligence Law states that Chinese “organizations and citizens shall, in accordance with the law, support, cooperate with, and collaborate in national intelligence work.”

EU feels that Chinese companies like Huawei could be asked by the Chinese government to incorporate “backdoors” into their equipment that would allow Beijing access, for spying or sabotage purposes, the EU officials said.

Changing EU law would need to win approval from EU capitals and the process will take at least 12 months to become active.