The European Commission has urged all EU member countries to consider moving away from "high-risk vendors," clearly referring to Chinese telecoms firms.

The EC wants to reduce the risk associated with Chinese telecoms equipment in 5G networks, reports Politico.

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Margrethe Vestager – European Commission

"We are urging member states who have not yet imposed restrictions on high-risk suppliers to do that without delay, as a matter of urgency," said Margrethe Vestager, executive vice president of the Commission in charge of digital issues, in a press conference.

In 2020, the EC introduced The 5G Security Toolbox, in a bid to reduce reliance on "high-risk" vendors for the buildout of future telecoms networks. Although it didn't directly address Chinese vendors Huawei and ZTE, it was seen to be a move to dial down on working with these vendors.

Vestager did not mention any companies by name in the press conference on November 10, but she was prompted by a question from a Bloomberg reporter to address the issue of Germany, where 5G operators including Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone have built up a heavy reliance on Huawei's equipment over the last decade.

"The countries who have put the toolbox in use have done that differently, reflecting that there is a different legacy in different countries, which is exactly as we would expect," said Vestager. "A number of countries have passed legislation, but they have not put it into effect. Obviously, passing legislation is a good thing - making it work is even better."

She said that acting on high-risk suppliers was a broad problem: "It's not only Germany, but it is also Germany."

Outside of the EU, many other countries have followed the US in imposing bans on Huawei equipment, notably the UK, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.

The UK has been poised to restrict Huawei's role in the buildout of its 5G networks. In January 2020 Prime Minister Boris Johnson put forward plans for Huawei to be allowed to take part in the ongoing 5G network roll-out, with a market share cap of 35 percent, and a ban from the "core" of the network, but then responded to pressure from MPs and the US with a change of policy in May 2020.

Under current plans, the vendor must be out of UK networks by 2023 - a rapidly approaching date which may be impossible.

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