Germany’s CDU seeks to block Huawei from 5G rollout

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German Chancellor and former leader of the German Christian Democrats Angela Merkel | Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Angela Merkel’s party passed a motion giving the Bundestag veto power over the matter.

BERLIN — Huawei’s chances of becoming a primary supplier for Germany’s 5G networks diminished on Saturday after the ruling Christian Democrats (CDU) moved to block the Chinese company by stipulating that the German parliament have the final say on the matter.

The party, ignoring opposition from Chancellor Angela Merkel, passed a motion at its convention that would bar 5G equipment suppliers from countries where the government holds sway over the business world.

The authors of the notion made it clear they were targeting Huawei. Critics of the Chinese company warn that using its equipment could expose countries’ communications networks to Chinese surveillance and even sabotage, suggestions Huawei has forcefully denied.

“As a society and state we cannot expose ourselves to attack,” the CDU motion read. “The only suppliers that can be trusted are those which are not under the influence of undemocratic states that lack functioning structures regarding the rule of law.”

The motion, in particular the requirement that the German Bundestag, or parliament, be granted veto power, likely dashes Huawei’s prospects to play a central role in Germany’s 5G expansion.

While Merkel has recently said she favors allowing the Chinese to participate in the contracts, which are expected to be worth billions, many in her party have severe reservations, as Saturday’s motion illustrated. The Social Democrats, which govern alongside the CDU, are also skeptical, as are the Greens and other opposition parties.

The CDU decision will be welcomed in Washington, where officials have been warning Germany and other European allies of the potential security dangers installing Huawei’s equipment could bring.

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