American officials have been urging their European counterparts to take a stronger stance against Huawei, the Chinese firm that is the world’s largest producer of telecommunications equipment. The White House is considering financially supporting European makers of 5G technology, like Nokia and Ericsson (there are no major U.S. competitors to Huawei). At U.S. urging, Italy—which less than a year ago became the first major European economy to join China’s Belt and Road Initiative—broadened its powers to scrutinize Chinese equipment. The U.S. and Poland agreed to align their approaches to 5G. But in a setback to U.S. efforts, on October 15 Germany decided not to ban Huawei from helping to build its 5G network.
What does this risk assessment mean for Europe?