A coronavirus-induced economic crisis could send Europe bargain-shopping for critical infrastructure—in ways that might be dangerous. Europe’s argument on moving forward with the implementation of Huawei 5G technology against U.S. objections has long centered on cutting costs. The U.S. calls for a ban of the Chinese telecommunications firm’s 5G equipment in European networks have failed to gain traction in most European capitals. Just a handful of countries have echoed U.S. demands for tougher restrictions to supplement the recently released EU toolbox for 5G security, and even fewer have called for an outright ban.
The United States has highlighted the risks that Huawei poses to national security, including the threat of espionage. Given the Chinese Community Party’s effective control of Huawei, there is concern over data integrity. More serious is the potential to debilitate critical infrastructure. 5G will be the backbone of communications and controls needed for power grids, water supplies, and transportation infrastructure. In January, the United Kingdom announced it would allow Huawei equipment on 35 percent of its 5G networks—a decision that could provide top cover for Germany, France, and others to do the same.
Read the full article in Foreign Policy.
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