The European Union is reportedly considering a mandatory ban on member states using equipment from vendors that might pose a security risk in their 5G networks.

The ban would include Huawei, and comes in response to the bloc's divided response to the perceived threat from the Chinese telecoms company, the Financial Times reported this week.

– Huawei

Huawei has been seen as a threat to national security in a number of Western nations due to its alleged close ties with the Chinese government.

In 2020, the European Commission (EC) urged EU states to restrict "high-risk vendors" such as Huawei as they rolled out their national 5G networks, but the EU's internal market commissioner Thierry Breton told telecoms ministers last week that only a third of EU countries have implemented Huawei bans in critical areas.

Germany and Portugal are said to be preparing bans on Huawei from their respective 5G networks, but there is reportedly apprehension in Brussels over delays by other national governments.

Germany's move may have come in response to a strong suggestion from the EU which, in November 2022, again urged its members to restrict "high-risk vendors" from 5G networks.

The UK, Denmark, Sweden, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania have banned Huawei from playing a part in their 5G network infrastructure. Though no longer part of the EU, the UK initially granted the vendor a limited role in its 5G build before banning the company six months later in July 2020.

Back in 2020, the EC was resisting pressure for a full ban from the US, where President Donald Trump was ramping up efforts to ban Huawei from a key role in 5G networks.

President Biden then banned Huawei in early 2023 and adding ZTE to the restrictions list.

Other countries are more open to Huawei involvement: Malaysia has said it won't ban Chinese vendors from playing a role in the build-out of its second 5G network.

In response to a query from DCD, Huawei said: “Huawei opposes politicizing cybersecurity issues. Assessing cybersecurity risks without sticking to recognized technological standards, or excluding specific suppliers from the system without proper technological evaluation, is a violation of the principles of fairness and non-discrimination.

"Huawei equipment is routinely and closely scrutinized by governments and relevant security agencies according to stringent cybersecurity standards. No evidence has ever been provided to show Huawei's equipment has backdoors. Disputes over intellectual property are common in international business. No court has ever found that Huawei had engaged in intellectual property theft, or required Huawei to pay damages for infringement on others' intellectual property.

"We are proud of our security record in Europe. We will continue to deliver our globally certified and trusted products and services across the continent that help connect millions of people.”