The European Union is considering proposals that will result in Chinese companies no longer being able to contribute to the creation of new mobile networks on the continent. This would effectively mean a ban on Huawei components for 5G networks and would put even more pressure on the world’s largest telecoms equipment manufacturer.

According to four high-level EU officials, the European Commission is currently considering proposals to make this ban possible. The considerations are at a very early stage and, according to Reuters news agency, could be very complicated to actually implement. If one really gets there, the EU will change its position considerably in relation to Chinese companies.

Fear of espionage

A move to exclude Chinese firms like Huawei from the roll-out of 5G networks will be welcomed with open arms by the United States. This is an attempt to prevent American companies from buying Huawei equipment, and it no longer wants its allies to buy Huawei equipment either. In this way, the United States is trying to prevent the Chinese government from being able to spy on Western countries via Huawei equipment; an accusation that has long been denied by the manufacturer.

However, the European Commission is still considering taking these measures. Specifically, it concerns an amendment to the Cyber Security Act of 2016. Those companies associated with critical infrastructure had to take appropriate security measures. By changing the definition of critical infrastructure to include 5G networks, EU companies should not use parts of countries or companies suspected of using their equipment for espionage or sabotage.

The officials stressed that more changes might be made. At the same time, they stressed that this was not a single company, but that the concerns arose from wider safety issues related to China. The Chinese government denies all intentions to spy on the West and claims that a ban on Chinese 5G suppliers is unfounded.

Possible setback

If the measures are actually taken, this may be a setback for European companies working on the roll-out of 5G networks. The networks are desperately needed and, if they keep their promise, they will connect just about anything, from cars to factories, to the Internet. However, the possible measures are likely to lead to delays and higher costs in the roll-out of the networks.

The Chinese Prime Minister, Li Kqiang, is expected to protest on 9 April at an annual meeting with Jean-Claude Juncker, the President of the European Commission, and Donald Tusk, the President of the European Council.

This news article was automatically translated from Dutch to give Techzine.eu a head start. All news articles after September 1, 2019 are written in native English and NOT translated. All our background stories are written in native English as well. For more information read our launch article.