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EU Presents Plan for Safe 5G Amid Huawei Suspicions

The European Commission on Tuesday presented its plan to ensure the secure introduction of 5G telecoms networks, with suspicions hanging over Chinese giant Huawei.

The United States has accused the firm of posing a security risk to western networks, because of its alleged ties to Chinese intelligence.

But some European countries are in negotiations with Huawei to deploy its advanced technology to power the faster wireless networks of the future.

The Commission has not yet urged European countries to follow the example of the US, Australia or Japan in banning deals with the firm.

But it will now take steps to determine the extent of the risk and encourage EU members to share information.

Andrus Ansip, vice president of the commission in charge of the digital single market, told reporters: "We have specific concerns connected with some producers.

"Everybody knows I'm talking about China and Huawei," he said, noting tha under a 2017 intelligence act Chinese firms mist collaborate with national spy agencies.

"I think we have to be worried about this," he said.

The plan, unveiled at a news conference at the EU parliament in Strasbourg, calls for member states to report back on any security threats to their national network infrastructure by June 30.

After that, the European Agency for Cybersecurity (ENISA) will be given to October 1 to produce a report evaluating the risks at a European level.

Then member states will debate what if any measures to take, with a decision before the end of the year.

Huawei cautiously welcomed the EU approach.

"Huawei understands the cybersecurity concerns that European regulators have. Based on the mutual understanding, Huawei looks forward to contributing to the European framework on cybersecurity," the firm said.

"We are firmly committed to continue working with all regulators and partners to make the 5G rollout in Europe a success."

Fifth Generation telecoms with almost instantaneous data transfer will become the nervous system of Europe's economy in the coming years, in strategic sectors like energy, transport, banking and health care.

Huawei has become a world leader in the technology, and Europe's deployment of the network could lag behind if it shuns Chinese suppliers.

Some Western capitals are wary that Huawei networks may give Beijing access to commercial, military, scientific and diplomatic secrets.

China furiously denies this, but Washington has banned Huawei's 5G technology from its territory and has urged its allies to follow suit or face losing some of their own access to American intelligence.

The European Commission's statement came just as China's President Xi Jinping met his French, German and EU counterparts in Paris.

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