The European Commission does not intend to prevent Huawei from rolling out a 5G–network in Europe. With this decision, the EU follows the United Kingdom that has previously indicated it will ban Huawei either. A setback in a for the American government.
The US announced some time ago that it banned Huawei from building a 5G-network in the United States, as it does not trust the Chinese tech giant. The US also lobbied in the UK and in Europe to adopt the same approach. The UK announced earlier this week that although it would take measures to prevent certain suppliers from taking a too large a share of the total network roll-out (they did not name any companies, but it was clear that they meant Huawei), the European Commission is now following that example.
A toolbox announced in October was approved by the Commission, which contains several measures that need to be followed by European countries. These would ‘improve safety, assess the risks of suppliers, impose relevant restrictions and exclude interference on certain important fronts’.
In doing so, it follows the example of the UK. What it comes down to in practice is that Huawei may not supply the core of the 5G network. Also, Huawei will not get access to certain places in the country, such as military bases. Finally, there is a cap of 35 per cent on how much equipment may be supplied for the network. For Huawei, this means that they can supply the antennas and equipment cellular towers, including their software. This combination ensures the roll-out of a powerful and flexible network. Where Huawei is not allowed to supply equipment is in the core of the network, when the signal goes into the ground, and where the handling of telephone calls, text messages and mobile internet traffic takes place.
In the wording of the European Commission’s decision, it is clear that the initiative lies with the Member States themselves, which means that it is still possible for countries to impose a ban on Huawei. However, it also states that it is important to show that the EU is a reliable and open market in which cooperation takes place.