Angela Merkel is facing some revolt in her party over the governments bold decision to not exclude Huawei and other Chinese tech companies from the build out of its 5G network.
Concerns are being raised in Berlin regarding the security risks surrounding the company, and MPs have gone as far as to put forward a motion for the party’s annual conference this week, which would ban the Chinese supplier from the 5G roll out.
Political and legal realities
Merkel is facing pressure from within her own cabinet to take a much tougher stance on Huawei. Foreign minister Heiko Maas said on Wednesday that Germany “cannot afford to ignore the political and legal realities that a supplier is subjected to”.
However, Merkel refuses to ban Huawei outright, and insists that all telecom providers can be involved in the 5G roll out as long as they meet certain tightened security standards.
On top of this, Merkel is ignoring pressures from the US to ban the company. Washington has called for a ban on Huawei amongst its allies, and the US ambassador in Berlin has warned that US authorities would consider scaling back intelligence cooperation, should Huawei be given a role in 5G.
No stranger to standing firm against the U.S., Angela Merkel’s determination on this matter has caused a clear divide amongst her party. She explained her approach by saying that the government had “reached a consensus that we need to improve the security level” of 5G. However, this was not to be done by excluding individual companies but by raising security standards for all. “That should be our benchmark,” she said.
One of the key reasons behind this approach to Huawei could well be based on existing relationships with Beijing. China is currently Germany’s biggest import partner, and its fifth largest exporting ally.
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