EU lawmakers express concern over Chinese 5G telecoms equipment

The European Parliament expressed “deep concern” about the risks involved with using Chinese technology in the development of high-speed 5G mobile networks in Europe, in a resolution adopted on Tuesday.

“It referred to allegations that 5G equipment may have embedded backdoors.

“The backdoors would allow Chinese manufacturers and authorities to have unauthorised access to private and personal data and telecommunications.

“EU lawmakers are also concerned about Chinese state security laws that oblige companies to cooperate with the state in safeguarding.

“This is a very broad definition of national security outside their country,’’ a statement issued after the vote said.

Several Western countries have accused Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei in particular of being too close to the government in Beijing and potentially cooperating with it to pass on information.

However, such allegations have not been proven.

The company has been banned by some states from working on sensitive infrastructure projects, while others are mulling such a move.

The parliament called upon the European Commission and member states to advice on how to tackle cyber threats when it comes to procuring 5G equipment, for example, by diversifying equipment or establishing a strategy to reduce EU dependence on foreign technology.

It also urged the commission to take steps towards the introduction of a 5G security certification scheme.

The resolution came as the commission was to propose a revised strategy on relations with China, taking into account new challenges.

The parliament also overwhelmingly adopted a new cybersecurity act, introducing a certification scheme to ensure that products, processes and services sold in the EU meet cybersecurity standards.

The U.S. has been pushing back against China’s technological expansion by asking that other countries refuse to adopt Huawei’s 5G infrastructure, which Washington says poses security threats.

Critics of Huawei, particularly in the US, claim that the company is too closely aligned with the Chinese government and could be forced to work with authorities on intelligence gathering through its equipment.

Australia has already banned Huawei from its 5G networks, while New Zealand and Britain are reviewing whether to allow it to proceed with 5G projects.

China says the U.S. accusations against Huawei are ungrounded and that the U.S. is trying to suppress Chinese companies.

Germany is currently mulling tightening the security rules for its telecommunications infrastructure, which could lead to Huawei’s exclusion from involvement in the construction of the 5G network in Europe’s biggest economy.

Bidding for the licenses for the expansion of the new super-fast internet network is expected to start March 19.

dpa/NAN