European Union policy on 5G: Context, scope and limits*
5G is considered a key technology for society but its implementation is currently surrounded by controversy. Beyond its technical aspects, 5G has become a question of security and national interest for many States as well as an international policy issue. Technological autonomy and digital sovereignty are increasingly recognised as strategic priorities on a global scale. In this context, the EU's position is unique, basically for two reasons. On the one hand, the EU has unintentionally become part of the playing field in the US-China dispute over technology companies and 5G. On the other hand, any policy of the EU or its Member States is constrained by the nature of 5G as an area of either European or national competence. The delimitation of their competences is not clear, just as there is no transparent and understandable distinction of their 5G responsibilities. In order to clarify this situation, a comprehensive analysis of the European competence and legal frameworks is necessary. After that, the study of the evolution process of this European policy provides an overview of its scope and limits. Finally, the paper explains the procedures and instruments of this European policy and concludes by assessing its implementation and development prospects. The possibility of reaching technological autonomy and digital sovereignty for the EU and its member states depends, for the time being, on this European policy.
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