The European Commission has published a ‘toolbox’ with provisional measures that should help Member States to establish secure 5g networks. No measures have been formulated that would exclude parties such as Huawei in their entirety.
In the published toolbox Among other things, the measure states that Member States have an adequate strategy for achieving 5G networks to reach different suppliers. Thus a strong dependence on a single company must be prevented. In doing so, Member States must avoid dependence on suppliers who are associated with a ‘high risk’. ‘Relevant restrictions’ must be set for such suppliers. Member States must also prepare risk profiles for suppliers and increase security requirements.
Huawei is not specifically mentioned. On the basis of these measures, member states are at least free to engage with Huawei to a certain extent. The Chinese telecom company said in a reaction to welcome the European decision. According to Huawei, this will enable it to continue with the participation in the roll-out of 5g in Europe. The company calls the toolbox a fact-based approach without prejudices that contributes to the security of 5g, and which enables Europe to realize a safer and faster 5g network. Huawei already gave a similar reaction on Tuesday in response to the British decision not to exclude the manufacturer. The UK will not use Huawei equipment in the core network. British policy appears to be closely in line with the toolbox of the European Commission.
The European Commission says that the Member States have embraced and adopted the toolbox. In a document the European Commission calls on the Member States to have taken concrete and measurable steps by 30 April to implement key measures. This is followed by a report on the status of this implementation process in each Member State on 30 June. In principle, these are non-binding recommendations; Member States remain responsible for decisions on specific security measures.
The German Handelsblatt writes that the German federal government is in possession of evidence that Huawei has cooperated with the Chinese government. The newspaper says it has an internal, secret document from the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The document states that Germany received American information at the end of last year, proving that Huawei is cooperating with Chinese intelligence services. The German Ministry would use the American terminology of a ‘smoking gun’, but details about the evidence are not given. In the document, the course of Chancellor Merkel, who does not want to exclude Huawei entirely, is criticized. Huawei states in a reaction that it does not cooperate with Chinese intelligence services and that the message in the Handelsblatt “repeats old and unfounded allegations without providing concrete evidence”.