The EU is thinking of banning all member states from using equipment from companies considered a security risk for bloc’s 5G networks, the Financial Times reported, citing officials with knowledge of the discussions. If passed as it is, the ban would be mandatory and would include equipment from China’s Huawei. 

The move comes as concern rises in Brussels that some national governments are “dragging their feet” on the issue, the officials told the FT. European Commissioner Thierry Breton said at a meeting held on 2 June 2023 that this was too few and that it “exposes the union’s collective security.” Portugal is preparing to ban Huawei from some 5G equipment. Denmark, Sweden, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in the EU, as well as the UK, have already banned the company from their 5G infrastructure. 

The recommendations, which were unanimously agreed by member states in 2020, ranged from certification requirements to diversification of suppliers. The guidance fell short of a ban, but people with direct knowledge of the matter said the EU could introduce a mandatory bar on companies deemed to present a security risk, if member states, including Germany, continue to delay. The bloc’s executive arm is scheduled to report on progress across the bloc in implementing the recommendations next week.

The European Commission declined to comment on the report. 

Huawei says ban without foundation would violate principles of fairness

Huawei said it opposes politicising cyber security evaluation. “Assessing cyber security risks without sticking to technological standards, or excluding specific suppliers from the system without proper technological evaluation, is a violation of the principles of fairness and non-discrimination, and also against the laws and regulations of the European Union and its member states.”  

It added that “no court has ever found that Huawei had engaged in malicious intellectual property theft, or required Huawei to pay damages for infringement on others’ intellectual property.”

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