The European Union is advancing its 5G plans without tying them to an unconditional Huawei ban, thus defying the U.S. This week's guidelines outlining the next steps in the political bloc's 5G roadmap reveal as much.
The European Commission detailed a so-called "toolbox" for risk mitigation during 5G deployments. The current plan is for the telecom industry on the Old Continent to have a lot of freedom in handling such issues. That liberal approach is at odds with the policy that the U.S. has been pursuing for the majority of the President Trump's current term.
With that said, it's unlikely Huawei will be coming anywhere near critical telecom infrastructure in Europe during the 5G era. That's the gist of the EU's newest guidelines which even the UK will follow to a large extent, despite leaving the alliance this week.
The White House resorted to some unconventional tactics in its attempts to promote its anti-Huawei policy on a global level. A significant portion of those includes thinly veiled threats, some of which were even targeting U.S. allies.
While diplomacy may be a complicated field, it's not hard to imagine how threats often aren't the best strategy. Especially when dealing with some of the world's most powerful economies. Germany demonstrated as much when the U.S. tried pressuring it into an unconditional Huawei 5G ban about a year ago.
The de facto leader of the EU is inarguably vigilant about Huawei tech to this day. However, it repeatedly said it won't outright ban any potential 5G partner. The next-gen technology is proving to be an expensive beast to deploy and maintain. In these circumstances, Germany sees radical moves like the ones proposed by the U.S. as naive. By extension, that stance is now being adopted by other EU member states as well.
Avoiding 5G ban is just the beginning for Huawei
So, while Huawei may be breathing a bit easier in Europe, its issues with Washington are still affecting its business on the continent. Increased scrutiny stemming from that animosity already produced new questions and spying accusations in Europe.
Huawei continues arguing any notion of a 5G ban is ridiculous and unfounded. The company repeatedly dismissed its close ties to China, arguing it's not any larger spying risk than telecoms in any other country are. In fact, the conglomerate insists the stateside resistance it's facing is just a side-effect of the ongoing trade war between its home country and the U.S.
Regardless, avoiding an outright EU 5G ban is just the first hurdle in Huawei's wireless ambitions in this decade.