Bulgaria has joined the US-led international coalition against Huawei, while Prime Minister Boyko Borissov signed a framework agreement on Friday (23 October) with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at an impromptu ceremony via video conference on the security of its 5G network.
However, the agreements have not been officially approved by the Bulgarian Council of Ministers, though the declarations have been defined by the parties as “key documents” but cannot be binding.
The signing comes amid Borissov’s efforts to complete the continuation of the Turkish Stream through Bulgarian territory and the US ultimatum to project participants to suspend work on the pipeline by mid-November at the latest.
Now Bulgaria is taking steps to satisfy the US desire to remove Huawei from its future 5G network. With another framework agreement, Borissov promised Washington could participate in future Bulgarian nuclear projects
“Bulgaria has joined the Clean Network initiative. This is another big step forward in our relationship. With this act, Bulgaria joins the growing coalition of countries and companies committed to protecting their 5G networks from unreliable providers,” the US Embassy in Sofia said in a statement.
Pompeo said the protection of the 5G network in Bulgaria was part of ensuring the security of networks in all EU and NATO member states.
The three major Bulgarian mobile operators are currently testing their 5G equipment, based on Huawei’s technologies. If the Bulgarian government obliges the companies not to use the already purchased equipment, they must be compensated.
At the same time, the government can get access to money from the European Commission’s COVID-19 recovery fund for the construction of the 5G network.
“Our communications must be clean, protected, transparent, ethical and comply with all necessary legal norms for the protection of personal data,” Borrisov told Pompeo, adding that 5G networks “will be built on the principles of free and fair competition, transparency and the rule of law.”