The European Commission urged EU member countries to reduce the risks associated with Chinese telecoms equipment in 5G networks, naming Germany in particular as a country that needs to implement the bloc’s joint 5G security guidelines.
“We are urging member states who have not yet imposed restrictions on high-risk suppliers to do that without delay, as a matter of urgency,” said Margrethe Vestager, executive vice president of the Commission in charge of digital issues.
“A number of countries have passed legislation but they have not put it into effect … Making it work is even better,” she said.
Asked whether Germany — where operators like Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone have relied heavily on equipment from Chinese giant Huawei in the past decade — is of particular concern, Vestager said: “It is not only Germany, but it is also Germany.”
European countries in 2020 agreed on a set of measures called the 5G Security Toolbox to reduce their reliance on “high-risk vendors” for future telecoms networks, in what was widely seen as a policy to dial down procurement of equipment from Huawei and its smaller Chinese rival ZTE.
Berlin last year passed a law allowing government ministries to intervene on telco contracts with Huawei, but the law leaves a lot of discretion to the government in how it imposes restrictions. The new government of Chancellor Olaf Scholz was expected to take a tougher stance on China but so far hasn’t intervened much in telcos’ reliance on Huawei.