Telecommunications equipment company Huawei has been banned by Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis from taking part in the development of its 5G telecommunication networks over security concerns in a Washington-backed bill signed on Friday.
The impartial government of Prime Minister Florin Vasile Cîțu, an ally of Iohannis, approved in April a ban on Chinese-controlled firms, and parliament subsequently rubber-stamped it, Reuters reported.
Romania joins the likes of the U.S., UK, India, and Taiwan who consider Huawei to be persona non grata from their domestic 5G endeavors.
Europe has emerged as a battleground in the technology 'ColdWar' playing out between Beijing and Washington, and Huawei's European competitors, Ericsson and Nokia, could become a supplier duopoly should the Chinese be shut 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.
“National security is a key goal and protecting Romania’s future generations’ personal data is crucial,” Popescu told Reuters.
Romania was a staunch Washington ally even before it joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in 2004. Washington sees Huawei as an arm of China's Communist Party's global surveillance machinery.
Huawei has repeatedly denied spying for the Chinese state.