EU still have work to do to beef-up 5G security ahead of European rollout

A man wearing a mask to curb the spread of the coronavirus walks past a Huawei store promoting 5G technologies in Beijing on Wednesday, July 15, 2020.
A man wearing a mask to curb the spread of the coronavirus walks past a Huawei store promoting 5G technologies in Beijing on Wednesday, July 15, 2020. Copyright Ng Han Guan/AP
By Joanna Gill, Jack Parrock
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In the Commission's report it stated that progress was urgently needed to 'mitigate the risk of dependency on high-risk suppliers'.

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Edging towards a coordinated approach to 5G in Europe, the Commission has released a progress report on reducing security risks to future networks.

It is part of the bloc's drive to roll-out 5G by the end of 2020.

“The timely roll-out of 5G networks is strategically important for all Member States as it can open new opportunities for businesses, transform our critical sectors and benefit European citizens," said Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President for a Europe Fit for the Digital Age.

The priority is to ensure 5G networks are secure, especially from any foreign interference. Vestager noted that the report shows that EU countries have 'undergone great strides' when it comes to security 'a lot of work remains ahead.'

The Commission wants to synchronise the roll-out of 5G across the EU, by using the so-called '5G toolbox' to carry out risk assessments. It seeks to assess the risk of suppliers and apply restrictions to 'high risk' suppliers. This includes exclusion for key assets considered critical and sensitive.

Earlier in July, the UK excluded Huawei from its future 5G network infrastructure. The Chinese telecoms company called on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to reconsider the decision. The UK's change of direction on Huawei prompted calls for a tougher approach from Europe.

In the Commission's report it stated that progress was urgently needed to 'mitigate the risk of dependency on high-risk suppliers, as well as developing multi-vendor strategies.

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