EU industry chief Thierry Breton on Thursday urged more EU countries to join the 10 that have restricted or banned China's Huawei and ZTE from their 5G telecoms networks, citing risks to the bloc's collective security.
Breton has in recent weeks voiced concerns that some EU countries still have perceived high risk components in their 5G core network, citing intrusive third-country laws on national intelligence and data security — a veiled reference to China.
European Union guidelines adopted two years ago call on its 27 member states to assess the risk profile of suppliers on a national or EU level, and restrict or ban high-risk 5G vendors from core parts of their telecoms networks.
"To date, only 10 of them have used these prerogatives to restrict or exclude high-risk vendors. This is too slow, and it poses a major security risk and exposes the Union's collective security, since it creates a major dependency for the EU and serious vulnerabilities," Breton told a press conference.
He said decisions taken by those EU countries to curb or block Huawei and ZTE were justified and in line with the bloc's 5G guidelines, and urged telecoms operators to do the same.
Germany is examining Chinese components in its 5G network, its Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said in April, while Portugal last month issued a resolution that could bar telecoms operators from using Chinese equipment in their 5G mobile networks and 4G platforms.
Huawei, ZTE and Beijing have strongly rejected Western allegations that the companies' equipment might be used for spying.
The European Commission will also ban Huawei and ZTE from its own procurement of telecoms services, Breton said.
"We call on all EU institutions to follow soon," he said.
© Thomson Reuters 2023
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