Daily Management Review

Will Europe let Huawei in?


Despite Washington’s warnings about the threat from the Chinese company Huawei, Berlin is going to allow it to create a 5G network in the territory of Germany.

Olaf Kosinsky-21
Olaf Kosinsky-21
Next week, Barcelona will host MWC Barcelona, an international conference of representatives of the mobile industry. According to experts, there will be heated debates between American and European wireless mobile communication providers. In the center of disputes will be the Chinese company Huawei Technologies.

The CTIA group, representing the main US mobile phone providers, does not agree with their European counterparts regarding threats posed by cooperation with the Chinese telecommunications giant. London-based GSMA advised European lawmakers not to ban Huawei products in the Old World. CTIA believes that this is an erroneous conclusion and that GSMA does not represent views of all European wireless providers.

The Germans decided to go even further. Despite the warnings of the United States, the German government, according to the Wall Street Journal, is inclined to allow Huawei to participate in creating the infrastructure of high-speed Internet 5G. The decision was made after investigation found no evidence that the Chinese company was spying with the help of its equipment, of which it is accused in America. This means that Huawei does not represent a threat to national security, which, in particular, was discussed at the Munich Security Conference by US Vice President Mike Pence.

Washington, in its peculiar manner, categorically stated that Huawei Technologies is closely connected with the government of the PRC and uses its equipment, which operates in the vast majority of countries, to collect secret information and transfer it to the authorities. However, neither the investigation of the German Federal Information Security Administration (BSI), nor the investigations of the authorities of other European countries responsible for security in cyberspace, found any evidence of Huawei’s espionage activities.

However, the decision to cooperate with Huawei Technologies is still preliminary. It was adopted by several specialized ministries and must be approved first at a meeting of the entire government, and then also in the Bundestag. The final decision will most likely be made in April. One can imagine the pressure Washington will put on Berlin in order to convince the Germans not to cooperate with the Chinese telecommunications giant. Naturally, the irreconcilable fighter against Nord Stream 2, the US ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, who has repeatedly drawn attention of "gullible" Germans to the passion of the Chinese authorities to collect information.

It is not excluded that the only thing that the United States will have to be content with is the changes to the laws that will toughen requirements for manufacturers of telecommunications equipment. At the same time, of course, Huawei Technologies is not even mentioned in the amendments.

For several months, the administration of Donald Trump has been demanding that in no case should Europe allow the Chinese to build 5G in the Old World. Washington also demands that Europeans replace Huawei telecommunications equipment. However, everyone in Europe is reluctant to listen to arguments from overseas, because the ban on Huawei will lead to a significant lag in the development of 5G. At the same time, the Europeans, who do not have any special love or special trust for the Chinese, say that there is no evidence that Huawei uses its equipment to gather secret information.

It seems that even the UK, the main ally of the United States, is ready to continue cooperation with Huawei. Results of the investigation in the country have not yet been completed, but it is already clear that no evidence of Huawei Technologies’s spy activities has been found.

Eastern Europe is also unsure about ban of Huawei Technologies. This part of the continent, which has been supporting America for almost all the years, is now afraid to anger China, which is investing heavily in Eastern European economies.

For Germany, the 5G network is a sensitive issue because it lags behind many European countries.

“We missed it (5G) in Germany,” a high-ranking German official, whose name WSJ doesn’t reveal, explained. “We need fast internet. Moreover, we need it quickly and cheaply.”

The founder of Huawei Technologies, a former military engineer, Ren Zhengfei, said on February 18 in an interview with the BBC: “The Americans cannot break us... The world cannot leave us, because we are ahead of the rest. Even if they (the United States) convince other countries to temporarily not use our equipment, we can always reduce its output a little... America does not represent the whole world. It represents only a part of it.”

source: wsj.com