With the von der Leyen on 5G course: Merkel defies the US Huawei warnings





When expanding the 5G network, the federal government would like to exclude none – not even the much criticized provider Huawei. In the EU, this course encounters some incomprehension. The US Secretary of State wants to bring Germany to rethink. Chancellor Merkel does not impress.


Angela Merkel does not allow herself to be called in by the US in the Federal Government's 5G strategy. Despite the warning from US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo before Huawei's involvement in the expansion of the German 5G network, the Chancellor has again rejected the exclusion of the Chinese telecom equipment supplier.

For the Federal Government, the demands on the participating companies and their verifiability are important, Merkel said after a meeting with future EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in Berlin. "But we do not make guidelines for individual providers." However, set up strict requirements for all providers. "Clearly, the IT security law and all security requirements are significantly tightened in connection with 5G."

At the same time emphasized the Chancellor: "We know that we now have to tighten the security requirements for the 5G expansion again significantly . " The provider must then behave according to the guidelines. Huawei is already active in 2G and 3G expansion in Germany. She spoke to von der Leyen about the desirability of having a unified European approach.

In the afternoon, Merkel met with Pompeo for an exchange of ideas. Pompeo had earlier called on Germany to join forces with the US to oppose authoritarian systems such as Russia and China. He also warned in this context again before Huawei participate in the 5G network. Huawei is under suspicion of US authorities to use its espionage activities for China. The US government blacklisted Huawei.

EU Concerns

Just like Merkel, von Leyen also promised that Europe would seek a common approach. She said that the EU Commission is currently asking Member States about the status quo and a risk assessment in 5G expansion. "We will have a common picture in a few weeks and then jointly develop a strategy on how we deal with opportunities and risks together." Von der Leyen is scheduled to take office on 1 December with a new commission.

There are concerns in the European Commission against Huawei. 5G participation by non-EU states and state-sponsored actors could make European networks susceptible to hacker and espionage attacks. This is the result of a recent risk analysis by the European Cybersecurity Agency (Enisa), EU Commission and EU Member States. Huawei and China were not named, but the purpose of the criticism became clear in context.

Criticism for the 5G Course The Federal Government

Germany, however, has recently decided to expand the network no company to exclude from the outset. Instead, companies should meet stringent security requirements that will be constantly monitored. Due to its high data rate and short reaction times, 5G is regarded as the basis for future technologies such as autonomous driving and virtual reality.

The German government has been criticized for its actions by the US but also within the ruling parties. Some CDU deputies complained about the national unilateral action of the federal government in the Huawei question. The Chairman of the European Committee in the Bundestag, Gunther Krichbaum, also CDU, recently called on the government to seek a coordinated procedure with the European partners and the European Commission. He was not against a participation of Huawei in the expansion of the 5G network in Germany. However, he was very skeptical about security-related components.

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