The decision to restrict or ban Huawei or ZTE in 10 EU countries is justified

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Thierry Breton points out that, following the European Commission’s recommendations three years ago, “only 10 member states have used property to restrict or exclude high-risk suppliers”.

The European Commission has found that measures taken by ten European Union (EU) member states to restrict or ban high-risk suppliers of fifth-generation (5G) mobile networks, such as Huawei and ZTE, “are justified and appropriate”.

“The European Commission has just published a communication confirming that the decision taken by some Member States to restrict or completely exclude Huawei and ZTE from their 5G networks is justified and in line with the rules,” said EU Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton in a Brussels press release.

On a day when EU countries took stock of the implementation of the cybersecurity toolkit on 5G networks, Thierry Breton pointed out that, following the European Commission’s recommendations three years ago, “only 10 member states have used the property to restrict or exclude high-risk suppliers”, with three countries currently working on implementing the relevant national legislation.

In his view, “this is too slow and represents a major security risk […] as it creates a high level of dependency for the EU”.

“I call on all member states and telecom operators to take the necessary measures without further delay because it is clear that the security of 5G networks is essential,” stressed the European head of guardianship without specifying, although Portugal is one of the countries that has advanced with restrictions.

“Of course we will continue to work resolutely with the member states that are lagging behind and with telecom operators and I can only underline the importance of accelerating decisions to replace high-risk suppliers of 5G networks,” he said.

The stance comes after earlier this month the European Commission praised the Portuguese authorities’ findings on the security risk of some 5G equipment, which may result in exclusion or restrictions being applied to providers, stressing that “threats have no place in Europe.”

“I commend Portugal’s [Higher] Cybersecurity Council for its considered decision to implement the EU’s 5G security toolkit,” the EU executive’s executive vice president for digital, Margrethe Vestager, reacted in a Twitter social media post.

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