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The Week Ahead Europe: EU to vote on Chinese tech security risk

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The Week Ahead Europe: EU to vote on Chinese tech security risk

The European Union will this week vote on possible ways to tackle "security threats" posed by the popularity of Chinese technology within the region.

Whether Chinese tech companies such as Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. present a cybersecurity risk is a question being asked around the world. Some countries, such as the U.S., have clear views on the matter, having blocked the use of Huawei equipment and government use of ZTE Corp. products.

The EU has been less candid, possibly because its member states each hold different opinions on whether Huawei's devices are safe. Germany is reportedly open to using Huawei equipment, while, according to newspaper Il Messaggero, some lawmakers in Italy are pushing for a ban. The U.K. government has received advice that the risks can be mitigated and managed, but is yet to take a clear position.

During the Mobile World Congress in February, EU Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Mariya Gabriel said the organization urgently needed to decide on a common policy to prevent such divergence, which could lead to market fragmentation and threaten the digital single market.

In coming to a decision, the EU faces pressure from telecom operators to protect competition in the market for 5G equipment. Banning Huawei from participating in 5G tenders would remove a competitor known not only for its aggressive pricing, but also for the high quality of its products. Germany's Deutsche Telekom AG found the Chinese company's exclusion could push back Europe's 5G rollout by at least two years.

Moreover, the GSMA, which represents mobile network operators worldwide, on Feb. 14 urged European policy makers to take a "fact-based" approach to deciding whether Huawei and other Chinese suppliers should be banned. It said that "competition, innovation and consumer impact" need to be considered alongside security.

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March 11-12

The European Parliament will debate and vote on the EU Cybersecurity Act. The legislation strengthens the EU Agency for Network Information Security so that it can carry out tasks as well as provide advice on how to respond to cyberattacks. The proposals also envisage the creation of the first voluntary EU cybersecurity certification framework for ICT products.

March 12 The European Parliament will vote on whether EU member states should ratify, or enact, rules on the protection of individuals from the automatic processing of personal data.
March 12 A vote will be held within the European Parliament on security risks posed by the "rising presence" of Chinese technology suppliers within the EU. The Parliament will also vote on possible action to reduce any threat. The session will be broadcast here.
Industry events:
March 11-15

Vienna will hold its third cybersecurity week, this time themed around "Protecting Critical Infrastructure."

Stories of note:

Analysis: Facebook CEO's privacy pledge raises more questions about its future

UK parliamentary committee urges tougher oversight of 'big tech' companies

Facebook's European ad revenues face mixed future

China-Europe investment slump looks modest next to US collapse

Analysts: Huawei reputation hit might hurt its EU smartphone business

Huawei lawsuit against US government faces long odds, legal experts say