BUCHAREST (Reuters) – Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis signed a Washington-backed bill on Friday that effectively bars China and Huawei from taking part in the development of its 5G telecommunication networks, on security concerns.
The centrist government of Prime Minister Florin Citu, an ally of Iohannis, approved in April a ban on Chinese-controlled firms, and parliament subsequently rubber-stamped it.
Europe has emerged as a battleground in the technology ‘ColdWar’ playing out between Beijing and Washington, and Huawei’sEuropean competitors, Ericsson and Nokia,could become a supplier duopoly should the Chinese beshut out.
The bill stems from a 2019 U.S.-Romania memorandum under which the two governments had said: “as part of a risk-based security approach, careful and complete evaluation of 5G vendors is necessary,” with those controlled by a foreign government and lacking a transparent ownership structure ruled out.
Romania was a staunch Washington ally even before it joinedthe North Atlantic Treaty Organization in 2004. Washington seesHuawei as an arm of China’s Communist Party’s globalsurveillance machinery.
Huawei has repeatedly denied spying for the Chinese state.
(Reporting by Radu Marinas Editing by Mark Potter)