European Commissioner (EC) Thierry Breton bemoaned slow progress in slapping restrictions on vendors deemed high risk by national authorities in the region, highlighting those excluding ZTE and Huawei from 5G were justified and in-line with recommendations.

In a speech made as the EC published a progress report on the implementation of guidance set-out more than three years ago in its toolbox on 5G cybersecurity, Breton complained only ten European Union countries had restricted or excluded high risk vendors. This is despite almost all having the ability to within national laws.

He noted the “slow” progress being made “poses a major security risk and exposes the [European] Union’s collective security”.

In an associated statement referred to by Breton, the EC confirmed nations imposing rules to restrict of ban Huawei and ZTE were “justified and compliant” with recommendations in place.

It added “consistently with such decisions, and on the basis of a broad range of available information, the Commission considers that Huawei and ZTE represent in fact materially higher risks than other 5G suppliers”.

Alongside outlining progress across the economic area, the EC announced it will avoid exposure to Huawei and ZTE in its own procurement of telecommunications services.

The toolbox implementation report found ten nations has imposed restrictions on use of 5G equipment from so-called high risk vendors, with one publicly announcing an outright ban on Huawei and ZTE products.

It noted a further three EU member states are working on implementing national legislation and another had issued a warning to operators on use of ZTE and Huawei equipment.

Singled out
Huawei told Mobile World Live it “strongly opposes and disagrees with the comments made by representatives from the European Commission”, adding “this is clearly not based on a verified, transparent, objective and technical assessment of 5G networks”.

It also took issue with “publicly singling out an individual entity” as a high risk vendor (HRV), noting doing this “without legal basis is against principles of free trade”.

“It is of paramount importance to emphasise that the discriminatory HRV assessment shall not be applied to any vendor without justified procedure and adequate hearing. As an economic operator in the EU, Huawei holds procedural and substantial rights and should be protected under the EU and Member States’ laws as well as their international commitments.”

The vendor went on to highlight its commitment to security pointing to its Cyber Security Transparency Centre in Brussels and noted it is “committed to delivering globally-certified and trusted products and services, connecting millions of Europeans”.

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