Angela Merkel said Europe should set up an agency that certifies components for the region’s fifth-generation wireless networks, in a bid to address safety concerns over equipment from Chinese suppliers including Huawei Technologies Co.
The agency could set standards for components built into Europe’s 5G networks and be modelled on the European Medicines Agency (MDA), which evaluates pharmaceutical drugs in the European Union (EU), the German chancellor said on Wednesday in parliament.
Allowing each EU member state to pursue its own China policy would be “one of the biggest dangers,” Merkel told lawmakers. “This would not only be devastating for China, but also for us in Europe.”
Governments from Germany to France to the UK are weighing restrictions for its wireless networks amid concerns that Chinese telecom equipment could be used for spying. Huawei has repeatedly denied all allegations, saying it would never do anything to hurt its business.
Merkel has been under pressure from the US and her own intelligence services to keep Huawei out of Germany’s 5G network, but is determined to let the company participate as long as it fulfills certain security standards.
European member states are due to agree by the end of the year on EU-wide measures to mitigate the risks posed by 5G, including certification requirements, tests, or identifying suppliers considered “non-secure.”
Countries would still have the right to ban companies from their markets for national security reasons.