Saturday 23 November 2019 2:24 pm

EU members back tough stance on 5G suppliers in potential blow to Huawei

European Union countries are endorsing a tough line on selecting 5G suppliers in a potential blow to market-leading telecoms equipment supplier Huawei.

At a meeting in Brussels on Friday, ambassadors for EU states agreed to an approach which includes vetting the domestic legal framework 5G suppliers are subject to.

Read more: Trump administration grants Huawei another 90-day reprieve on trade ban

The news was confirmed by a spokesperson for Finland, which currently holds the rotating EU presidency.

A draft document ahead of the meeting said, EU countries should consider non-technical factors such as the legal and policy framework to which suppliers may be subject in third countries, according to Reuters. Although no specific companies were mentioned.

EU governments should also diversify their suppliers and not depend on one, the document said.

Ministers from the member states are expected to give the green light to the approach at a meeting next month. 

The US has urged the EU to ban Huawei equipment amid an ongoing dispute and tensions with China.

Concerns are based on Chinese law on domestic companies’ cooperation with the government on security, which the US believe could make Huawei a vehicle for spying.

Huawei has denied the charges and dismissed them as groundless.

Last month the EU warned of increasing risks of cyber attacks by state-backed entities, but did not name companies or countries.

The promotion of 5G networks remains a key possibility to boost economic growth, the EU believes.

Read more: Huawei: The fake choice between US and China will weaken the world economy

It is looking into a “toolbox of measures” by the end of the year to address cyber security risks at national and continental level.

The European Agency for Cybersecurity is also finalising a map of specific threats related to 5G networks.