BUCHAREST—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 ‘Cold War’ 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.
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.
By Radu Marinas