Germany’s ruling Christian Democrats have backed a motion stipulating that requires 5G suppliers to fulfil a “clearly defined security catalogue that would block the involvement of a “foreign state” during the construction of the country’s 5G network and that the parliament shall have the final say in decision-making.
The decision came after negotiations over the involvement of China’s largest telecommunications equipment supplier Huawei Technologies in the development of Germany’s 5G network. While Huawei was not mentioned in the motion, the latter was clearly targeting the Shenzhen-based company, which has been accused by the United States of being working with the MSS, the Chinese intelligence services, as part of their concerted effort to increase their espionage activities in the West.
Washington and several other countries have already been blacklisted Huawei for its alleged ties to Chinese intelligence, a charge the company has repeatedly denied.
“Big companies in China have, by law, to serve the interests of the Communist Party in China and to fully cooperate with Chinese intelligence”, said Norbert Roettgen, the head of the German parliament’s foreign affairs committee said after initiating the original motion. Roettgen also added that the matter of China’s penetration of 5G development in the EU is a major national security concern for Europe.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is a strong advocate for an open market bid for the massive 5G infrastructure project, has thrown her support behind imposing a set of security standards that companies like Huawei would have to strictly comply with, rather than issue a blanket ban on all Chinese companies.
Telecom operators in Germany have warned that excluding Huawei, whose components accounted for about 70% of Germany’s existing mobile network, would significantly delay the launch of 5G networks and would also add billions of euros in overhead costs to the projected 5G budget.
The launch of Germany’s 5G network is one of the country’s cornerstone projects for the next decade and is aimed at bolstering its market competitiveness.