Trade

German MPs urge Merkel to keep Huawei out of 5G network

BERLIN — A group of MPs from Angela Merkels center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) is pressing the German chancellor to keep Chinese telecom company Huawei out of the countrys 5G network, citing national security reasons.

The push comes after Berlin last week released a new “security catalogue” for telecoms networks, which critics say lacks teeth because it only obliges Huawei to sign a “no spy” clause while generally opening 5G tenders to the Chinese telecoms giant.

Merkel has come under fire for her decision from allies like the U.S., which warned last week the move could have serious implications for future intelligence sharing between Berlin and Washington.

Critics say Germany is bowing to pressure from China because it fears trade retaliation from the Asian powerhouse, which is Germanys biggest trading partner and an important export destination at a time when the German economy risks sliding into a recession.

Senior CDU lawmaker Norbert Röttgen told POLITICO that he wants Merkel not to decide alone on the 5G issue, but submit the decision to the German parliament which should debate and vote on the case.

Critics say Germany is bowing to pressure from China because it fears trade retaliation from the Asian powerhouse.

“The last word is far from spoken and Im also cautiously optimistic that this matter can be decided in the Bundestag in the coming weeks or months,” said Röttgen, who is chair of the parliaments committee for foreign affairs.

He described the 5G network as a “digital neural system” for Germanys economy, society and the political system, which meant the decision was “a first-rank question of national security.”

“In reality, this is not about Huawei but the trust in the Chinese leadership: This is a company that is at the mercy of state interests and can, in doubt, not refuse government-led interference,” he said, adding: “Significant state influence is something that we cannot tolerate because it would mean that we dont have that company but the state in our networks.”

“Im … cautiously optimistic that this matter can be decided in the Bundestag in the coming weeks or months.” — senior CDU lawmaker Norbert Röttgen

Röttgens criticism was backed by his party colleague Mark Hauptmann, who said the 5G decision was about “critical infrastructure for the next 20 years.”

“I can only warn against relying on Huawei because we would enter a technological dependency relationship and there are massive security concerns, such as the outflow of information, a possible kill-switch scenario, but also a possible dependency in a trade war in which, for example, certain important accessories for a particular area could suddenly no longer be made available.”

Huawei and other Chinese telecommunication companies reject suggestions that their equipment is vulnerable to backdoors or spying by the Chinese state and says European countries should make their own decisions about 5G security.

The chancellors office could not immediately be reached for comment.

Hauptmann and Röttgen also expressed their concerns in an op-ed, co-signed by fellow CDU lawmakers Christoph Bernstiel, Peter Beyer, Stefan Rouenhoff and Roderich Kiesewetter, which was published by German newspaper Handelsblatt oRead More – Source