Almost half of EU states are yet to screen high-risk vendors
At the start of the year, not long after the UK had made its initial judgement on Huawei’s future in the country’s 5G infrastructure, the European Commission announced that it would not restrict countries from working with high-risk vendors. Instead, it had devised a European Union Toolbox for 5G Security, a set of cybersecurity recommendations aimed at making the European approach to 5G vendors somewhat uniform.
However, figures from the latest report show that the EU on the whole is being slow to adopt such security measures, with 13 of the 27 member states yet to mandate screening mechanisms.
The EU Commission’s Toolbox was created as something of a middle ground; action regarding a unified approach to 5G security was surely needed, but the Commission was at pains to avoid dictating rules to its member states. Now, useful and informative though it may be, the Toolbox-focussed approach to coordinated security is only very slowly being implemented.
The timing of this report comes at a tumultuous time for European networks. Pulling this way and that by the heavy impact of the coronavirus, as well as the ongoing geopolitical dispute between the US and China, many European governments and operators are on the brink of making major decisions about their 5G futures. Couple this with the fact that the rapid rollout of 5G is being positioned by many as a key driver of economic recovery and it is clear to see that the need for robust network security is more important than ever.
“With 5G network rollout going ahead across the EU, and our economies increasingly relying on digital infrastructure, as the coronavirus crisis demonstrated, it is more important than ever to ensure a high level of security,” said EU Commissioner Thierry Breton. “Together with Member States, we are committed to put in place robust measures, in a coordinated manner, not only to ensure 5G cybersecurity but also to strengthen our technological autonomy. Today’s report reaffirms our commitment and outlines the areas where further efforts and vigilance are needed.”
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