Secure 5G deployment – EU toolbox

EESC opinion: Secure 5G deployment – EU toolbox

Key points:

  • The EESC welcomes the initiative of the Member States and the European Commission to review Member States' progress in implementing the set of key measures recommended in the conclusions of the EU toolbox of strategic and technical measures for the secure deployment of the 5G ecosystem.
  • The EESC considers that, in view of the increasing complexity and variety of 5G applications, this review of the 5G ecosystem and the Commission's measures to safeguard the cybersecurity of 5G networks and a diverse 5G value chain, technical standardisation and certification, foreign direct investment, trade defence and competition, public service obligations, procurement and cyber diplomacy should cover geopolitical security, infrastructure and data security and health safety, including pursuant to Article 168(1) Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
  • The EESC believes that it is important for the European 5G ecosystem to ensure integrity, confidentiality, management and operational responsibilities, safety, fungibility of supply, interoperability of hardware and software components, common technical standards, continuity of service, flow reliability and data protection, coverage in all areas, including sparsely populated areas, clear communication targeting users as active digital market players, and proactive adherence to the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection guidelines seeking to protect the health of the population, while reducing radiation as much as possible.
  • The EESC asks the Commission to strictly monitor progress in the deployment and real use of 5G and calls on the Member States to further accelerate the process and ensure a responsible implementation.
  • In particular, the EESC believes it is vital to assess the risk profile of suppliers and apply relevant restrictions for suppliers considered to be high risk. In addition, the EESC reiterates its suggestion of having at least two suppliers for each country, at least one of which is European, in order to ensure political security of data and respect for heath requirements.
  • The EESC recommends that European technological diplomacy be strengthened to enable the EU to ensure more balanced, reciprocal conditions for trade and investment, in particular as regards market access, subsidies, public procurement, technology transfers, industrial property and social and environmental standards.