Huawei: US threatens Germany

The US has warned Germany and other countries against tasking Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei with the construction of the 5G network in Europe. It threatened Berlin with ending its collaboration with German intelligence services and military cooperation within Nato if the country failed to heed its advice, as it believes China could misuse the sensitive infrastructure. How should Europe react?

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Gazeta Wyborcza (PL) /

Without the NSA Germany is deaf and blind

The US's ultimatum to Germany should be taken seriously, Gazeta Wyborcza comments:

“The ambassador warned that the Americans would stop passing on information about the army, the intelligence agencies and anti-terrorist measures. If that really happens the German intelligence agencies have a problem. Up to now they have collaborated closely: the Germans are subcontractors for the US National Security Agency and have intercepted and read phone calls and emails all over the world on its behalf. For some years now the Americans have been informing the Germans about terrorist cells operating in their country. This has prevented many attacks. ... It's also hard to imagine that military cooperation within Nato would be possible if the Americans cut Berlin off from their data.”

Handelsblatt (DE) /

Berlin, Paris and London need a joint stance

The question "Huawei, yes or no?" requires a European answer, writes Handelsblatt:

“In France for example Huawei products are used above all for peripheral tasks on the fringes of telecommunications networks. Paris and its entire surrounding area are taboo for the Chinese. The UK's National Cyber Security Centre, by contrast, is more daring and after scrutinising Huawei products has concluded that the remaining risks can be managed. Why didn't Berlin, Paris and London sit down together to exchange experiences and formulate a joint stance vis-à-vis the potential threat from China and the concerns of the US?”

Wired (US) /

US just as bad when it comes to spying

The technology magazine Wired explains how the rivalry between the US and China puts other countries in a dilemma:

“If you are not American or Chinese, it can be difficult to discern how arrangements between the US government and American technology companies differ fundamentally from relationships between the Communist Party and Chinese technology companies. In a world where the two increasingly dominant technology superpowers, China and the US, are jockeying for position globally, other countries and foreign companies see all choices as potentially compromising their own domestic security. Or to put it differently: Who do you want spying on you, the Americans or the Chinese?”

L'Opinion (FR) /

Close the technological gap

Europeans should develop a strategy for promoting cutting-edge technologies instead of simply denying Huawei access to their markets, L'Opinion urges:

“This is about protection against industrial espionage and ensuring Europe's technological sovereignty. ... Huawei is a step ahead of European producers Nokia and Ericsson, and the company also spurs on competition. Banning Huawei could be disadvantageous if it depriving the European telecommunications sector of innovation and low prices. As in the case of the Siemens-Alstom merger in the railway sector, the Europeans must come up with a plan for catching up technologically and financing research and development in technologies where Europe is leading the way.”

De Volkskrant (NL) /

EU must protect itself against China

The debate about Hauwei highlights Europe's vulnerability, stresses centre-left MEP Marietje Schaake in De Volkskrant:

“National assessments of national security risks and the auctioning of 5G frequencies at the national level while market rules apply internationally play right into China's hands. The EU must remain open to international trade, but it must stop being naive. If 5G is to become a critical infrastructure, every company that offers the technology must fulfil stringent security requirements. ... If we in Europe want to take a clever approach vis-à-vis actors who combine economic, political and strategic power, a number of national taboos will have to be broken.”

Hospodářské noviny (CZ) /

Pompeo's clear message to V4 states

During visits to Budapest, Bratislava and Warsaw, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is warning states about Chinese telecommunications company Huawei and its plans to set up 5G networks in Eastern European countries. The message is clear, Hospodářské noviny concludes, summing it up:

“Our biggest concern is the rise of China. In our view the strategic competition with Beijing will determine US foreign policy. And if it is in your national interest to stand by our side we will continue to fulfil our part of the deal. You needn't worry about your security - or about Russia. That's a clear offer: the alliance with the US has never left you in the lurch. An alliance with China would be an experiment with an unforeseeable outcome. This is an offer from the US that can't be rejected.”