Why Europe Won't Shut the Door on Huawei

Jun 13, 2019 | 09:00 GMT

A Huawei logo looms over a street in Barcelona, Spain.

The logo of Chinese tech giant Huawei is seen from a plaza in Barcelona, Spain. The company's smartphone sales have reportedly dropped in Spain and other European Union countries since the United States blacklisted it in May because of security concerns.



  • The rollout of 5G in Europe will largely fall to individual countries, though the European Union will pressure member states to update their security requirements for 5G partners to mitigate the potential risks.
  • But while many EU countries will introduce regulations that could restrict the participation in China's Huawei in the development of their 5G networks, completely banning the company from any market — which is what the United States has called for — remains unlikely.
  • Since Huawei is already a key player in 4G networks in Europe, many governments will ultimately decide that the fastest and cheapest way to implement 5G technology is to continue using Huawei.

The United States and China are in the midst of a tech war, and Europe's caught dead center. In its push to stem Beijing's expanding global influence, Washington has pressured its European allies to sever their ties with Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei, which it accuses of being a Trojan horse for Beijing's government to spy on other countries. But while some members of the European Union have been more receptive to U.S. pressure, none so far have succumbed fully to the United States' plea to ban Huawei from participating in the development of their 5G networks. That's not to say EU countries haven't taken heed of Washington's concerns about the Chinese company, or that U.S. accusations haven't marred Huawei's reputation among European consumers and companies. But Huawei's already sizable presence in EU markets -- combined with its expertise in the 5G space -- will make it a tempting option for European...

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