European Commission wants joint approach on 5G

EU Member States should conduct a risk analysis on 5G infrastructure in their countries by the end of June and exchange that information so as to develop a continent-wide risk analysis, the European Commission recommended on Tuesday.

The Commission made the recommendation while presenting its plans to ensure the security of 5G development in the European Union in the face of suspicions of espionage by Chinese companies.

The European Union Agency for Network and Information Security, ENISA, will help Member States in an EU global risk assessment to be conducted by the 1st of October, the Commission said. Based on the results, EU Member States would be able to agree on measures to tackle the risks identified.

Next-generation 5G systems, which offer almost instantaneous connectivity, are destined to become the backbone of the economy, including in sensitive areas such as energy, transport, banking and health.

Due to its technological advancement, the Chinese giant Huawei has become an unquestionable leader in this crucial new technology, and Europe’s development could be stymied if it were to decide to do without its expertise.

However, there has been concerns that Huawei’s equipment may enable Beijing to spy on the communications of countries that use it since Chinese laws oblige companies headquartered in China to provide technical assistance to the country’s intelligence services.

For its part, Huawei has denied the allegations.

Belgium’s cybersecurity watchdog, the Centre for Cybersecurity Belgium (CCB), is currently analysing the security of infrastructure sold by the Chinese telecoms giant, which equips networks such as Proximus and Orange.

“So far there is no information to make us say there is a technical risk with Huawei products in Belgium,” CCB Deputy Director Phédra Clouner had said in January.

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