Europe urges UK to call Trump’s bluff on Huawei

EU Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan doesn’t reckon US President Trump will follow through on threats to suspend intelligence cooperation with the UK.

During an interview with UK former EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mendelson, long-time senior Eurocrat Hogan was repeatedly asked about the impact of Trump’s trade and security policies. Most of the interview (below) is taken up with Mendelson’s interminable questions and Hogan’s tutting about protectionism and Trump in general, but there were occasional highlights.

Principal among them from a telecoms perspective was Hogan’s assertion that he reckons the Trump administration is bluffing when it threatens the UK with estrangement from the Five Eyes anglophone intelligence alliance if it allows Huawei gear into its 5G network.

“I think that’s a bit of sabre-rattling,” said Hogan (15:30). “I don’t think that will actually happen at the end of the day. I think everybody has an interest in making sure that we’re safe and secure and I think that the United States, at the end of the day, you can call their bluff on that one.”

Hogan may be right but it’s questionable how wise it is to openly goad Trump in this way, who may now feel tempted to follow through on the threat just to teach him and the EU a lesson. Furthermore, if you take the US position at face value, sharing intelligence with an ally that has allowed Huawei into its 5G network will make it less safe and secure. So while Hogan’s assessment may have been accurate at the time he made it, he may yet come to regret taking such a supercilious public attitude towards the US


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  1. Avatar Dave 17/01/2020 @ 3:03 pm

    Dont let Huwai into the 5G network as it wont be as secure ? And you honestly trust the american nsa more ???? Go watch citizen four mate.

  2. Avatar Andrew Somerville 17/01/2020 @ 3:55 pm

    (Lord) Peter Mandelson not Peter Mendelson

    • Scott Bicheno Scott Bicheno 17/01/2020 @ 3:56 pm

      Oh lord…

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