Germany Urged to Review Huawei Role After UK Ban

July 15, 2020 Updated: July 16, 2020

Following Britain’s decision to ban Huawei from its 5G network, Germany has come under increased pressure to review its own relationship with the Chinese telecom firm.

The United Kingdom announced on July 14 that it had banned Huawei from further input into its telecoms infrastructure by the end of 2020, and set a deadline of 2027 for the stripping out of existing kit from the country’s 5G network.

The reversal has come amid fears of the potential for spying and sabotage on the part of the Chinese telecoms giant, which has close links to the Chinese regime.

The UK’s decision shows Germany’s continuing cooperation with Huawei is untenable, said Norbert Röttgen, a prominent member of Germany’s ruling Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Bundestag, Germany’s parliament.

Norbert Roettgen Norbert Röttgen
Norbert Roettgen, a prominent member of the German Christian Democrats (CDU) and former German environment minister, speaks to the media in Berlin, Germany, on Feb. 18, 2020. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

“The British decision shows that security and economy can no longer be separated when it comes to our critical infrastructure,” Röttgen told Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

Röttgen echoed the British government’s concerns that U.S. sanctions against Huawei will damage the security of the equipment the firm produces.

“Instead of American chips, Huawei now has to use Chinese ones,” said Röttgen, who has long argued against cooperation with Huawei. “The federal government must also answer the question of how we are dealing with this new situation.”

Britain is not the only European country to turn its back on Huawei. Italy’s Telecom Italia also excluded the firm from a tender for 5G equipment for the core network it is preparing to build in Italy and Brazil, the Reuters news agency reported on July 10.

Following the UK decision to ban Huawei, its main competitors Nokia and Ericsson, both European firms, issued statements saying they were ready to step in and replace Huawei equipment in the British network.

“A development in favour of a European solution is emerging, which Germany should join forcefully instead of taking a special path within Europe,” Röttgen urged.

Epoch Times Photo
Visitors check products at the Nokia stand at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona on February 27, 2019. (Josep Lago/AFP/Getty Images)

Alternative for Germany (AfD), a highly conservative political party that holds 89 of the 709 seats in the Bundestag, has also called on Angela Merkel’s government to follow Britain’s footsteps.

“Germany and Europe must maintain their technological sovereignty and must not become dependent on China, a one-party state,” said Joachim Paul, member of the AfD federal executive board.

“The AfD is calling on the German government to completely excluded the Chinese firm from our 5G rollout expansion and, in line with the British model, to set a deadline for network operators to completely strip all Huawei components from German networks.”

Nancy McDonnell of the German edition of The Epoch Times contributed to this report.