EU chief says 5G not dependent on China

Europe’s Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton has dismissed claims that relying on European companies to build a 5G network would delay its rollout, weighing in on a tense debate in Germany over the risk posed by China’s Huawei.

In a speech at the DLD conference in Munich, Commissioner Breton, a former French finance minister, tells policy-makers in Germany and elsewhere that the new 5G technology will require more stringent security rules than previous generations.

“Setting up strict security conditions will not create delays in the rollout of 5G in Europe,” Mr Breton will say, according to a copy of the speech obtained by Reuters.

“Europe, including Germany of course, is on track. We are not, and won’t be, late in Europe on the deployment of 5G,” Mr Breton will say.

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The warning contrasts with comments by German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer who said last week that if Chinese companies were excluded, the construction of the 5G network would be postponed for at least five to 10 years.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party is divided over whether to support a proposal by its Social Democrat coalition partners that would effectively shut out the Chinese tech giant from the network.

But the call to favour European providers such as Nokia and Ericsson and set up more stringent security rules will please opponents of the Chinese company.

China’s ambassador to Germany, Ken Wu, indicated last month that Beijing could retaliate if Huawei was excluded, pointing to the millions of cars Germany sells in his country. (Reuters)

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