Days after news broke that the European Union (EU) was discussing banning Huawei from its 5G infrastructure projects due to security concerns, reports have claimed that the same bloc is paying the Chinese firm to research next-gen comms systems.
According to the Financial Times, Huawei is part of Horizon Europe, EU’s flagship research and innovation program totalling 11 projects. These projects are developing technologies including artificial intelligence, 6G, cloud computing, quantum sensing, connectivity, as well as frameworks for autonomous driving.
As per the FT, Huawei has gotten roughly 14% of the funding, amounting to just below €4 million, and is apparently providing infrastructure equipment and AI platforms for the projects.
All of these projects are highly sensitive in nature, and given the fact that Huawei is considered a threat to the bloc’s security, its inclusion raised quite a few eyebrows.
John Strand, the founder of Denmark-based consultancy Strand Consult, told the publication that having Huawei take part is “like inviting someone you don’t trust to visit your secret offices. It could be risky for Europe’s security and EU’s plan to have self-autonomy.”
Head of science, technology and innovation at Germany’s Mercator Institute for China Studies, Jeroen Groenewegen-Lau, called Huawei’s inclusion as “incredible”, adding that it was quite the surprise that this didn’t raise any red flags along the way.
For Huawei, international cooperation is “vital”. It said that its participation in Horizon Europe was “evaluated independently by different panels of experts selected by the EU”.
Huawei is China’s biggest, and one of the world’s biggest telecommunications operators. In recent times, the US government deemed it a threat to national security, arguing that the Chinese government might force the company into adding backdoors into its infrastructure, to be used for espionage. Since then, a number of countries around the world banned Huawei from working on their 5G infrastructure projects. Huawei has denied any allegations vehemently.
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Sead is a seasoned freelance journalist based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He writes about IT (cloud, IoT, 5G, VPN) and cybersecurity (ransomware, data breaches, laws and regulations). In his career, spanning more than a decade, he’s written for numerous media outlets, including Al Jazeera Balkans. He’s also held several modules on content writing for Represent Communications.