China is now considered a “systemic rival” by the European Commission after the published a policy paper on 11 March that threatened tighter rules on its investments in Europe.
The European Commission’s External Action Service has requested that China stop its unfair treatment of European companies and investment practices that undermine the rule of law, as well as the practice of exposing developing nations into debt.
The paper also lists security concerns linked to using Chinese technology in the development of 5G mobile communication networks. Brussels plans to push for a common EU approach to 5G security risks that includes information exchange, risk assessment and risk-management measures.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel made clear that Germany will abide by its own security standards for a new 5G mobile network after Washington threatened to scale back data-sharing with Berlin if China’s Huawei was allowed to participate in the development of its network.
US Ambassador Richard Grenell warned Germany’s Economy Minister Peter Altmaier that security concerns could throttle the Americans’ intelligence sharing with Berlin if Huawei got a role in Germany’s 5G next-generation mobile infrastructure.
In the past, Grenell has also threatened German corporates in Iran and those involved in the Nord Stream-II project with Russia.
The foreign policy spokesman for the Cristian Democrats, Juergen Hardt, recently said that there is no connection between the 5G licenses and US-German intelligence sharing, which is founded on mutual interests.
Lithuania, however, is keener to align with Washington. The VSD State Security Department published its annual National Threat Assessment which included details about how the Chinese intelligence services are expanding their area of Interest in Lithuania.
This raised concerns about the activity of China’s spy services and its military intelligence counterparts. Presenting the report to the media recently, VSD Director Darius Jauniskis made an explicit reference to Huawei. Two out of Lithuania’s three telecom companies use Huawei technology as the basis for their mobile networks as does the country’s public broadcaster.