Esteemed Members of the Press, distinguished guests, dear friends,
Welcome to this, our 3rd DigitALL Lunchtime Debate. I would like to thank our partner Tipik for the relaunch of the huawei.eu website that Maha has just presented to us.
Huawei has been in the news these last couple of days and I’m sure you have all been following the developments and media reports.
Those among us who cherish the rule-of-law should be worried. You believe in the free market, in the respect of mutually agreed rules and in the principle of non-discrimination? You should be alarmed with the behaviour of the US administration against Huawei. What has happened to the sacrosanct presumption of innocence? The founding fathers of the US constitution would be alarmed when confronted with the actions of the Trump Administration.
In a very European way, Huawei has been respecting all applicable laws and regulations. Now Huawei is becoming the victim of the bullying by the US administration. This is not just an attack against Huawei. It is an attack on the liberal, rules-based order. This is dangerous. Now it is happening to Huawei. Tomorrow it can happen to any other international company. Can we shut our eyes to such behaviour? If we shut our eyes, what will be the likely consequences of such a complacent appeasement in the future? I leave it to everybody to think about the significance of this development.
Today’s talk is about 5G The European Way.
This is the second big point I want to make today: Huawei’s 5G solution is not just the best on the market. But it is to a large extent a European product, many of the technologies are actually developed by the researchers and scientists in Europe.
As you might be aware, Huawei has been operating in Europe for nearly 20 years. We now have 12,200 employees in Europe, 70% hired locally. In 2018, we procured over 5.6 billion euros of goods and services in Europe. We have research partnerships with 140 top universities and research organisations in Europe.
We want Europe to be at the vanguard of this 5G revolution to boost European’s economy and reinforce European industry’s leading position. That is why we launched a campaign to coincide with the EU elections: Vote for 5G, Vote Smarter, aimed at promoting awareness of 5G opportunities and the potential it has for strengthening European values and solidarity.
I believe that future technologies like 5G will actually help safeguard Europe’s social model and the European way of life. We know Europe’s history, and how, back in 1950, Robert Schuman delivered his remarkable declaration bracing Europe for the future.
We are at another crossroads now, nearly 70 years later, where new technologies will bring tremendous changes to society and the future.
Back in 1950, Europe lay in ruins: after the devastations and tragedies of the Second World War, the Old Continent needed to reinvent itself and launch a new model through which its best values – freedom, courage and solidarity – could flourish once more. The revolutionary Schuman Declaration paved the way for what has later become the European Union – a 28-nation economic and cultural powerhouse which continues to inspire the entire world.
When Schuman delivered his declaration in May 1950, his proposals to pool coal and steel production, and thereby make war between European states materially impossible, seemed illusory to many. And yet, Schuman‘s vision was the beginning of an incredible success story!
Huawei cares about a strong and united Europe, and we are ready to work with the EU to roll out 5G the European way. There is a huge opportunity for Europe to be seized. The ICT revolution can work for Europe. This continent is looking to reinvent itself – Huawei’s 5G is a decisive part of the solution for Europe’s contemporary challenges.
We at Huawei understand the security concerns of European governments and we are ready to go for the extra mile. Because of the importance of 5G, as an industry leader, Huawei stands ready to sign no-spy agreements with governments and customers in all EU Member States.
Major European leaders seem to have a somewhat different mindset from the US. French President Emmanuel Macron at the VivaTech conference in Paris last week said that France has no intention of launching a “trade or tech war.”
And I quote him: “Our perspective is not to block Huawei or any company. Launching a trade or tech war vis-a-vis any country is not appropriate. It is not the best way to defend national security. France and Europe are pragmatic and realistic. We believe in cooperation and multilateralism.”
Also, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has stated that – I quote: “For us, the security criteria are the decisive starting point in terms of deciding who will participate in the 5G deployment”.
We are pleased that Europe is coming out with its coordinated approach to 5G. The European Union has proved its capacity of bringing European countries together to develop some of the most advanced and comprehensive laws like GDPR. Europe should continue to drive that agenda forward. The EU should make decisions for the benefit of Europe and its citizens.
Huawei will persevere. We are a global company and our international operations will continue. Not only are we continuing to invest in Europe, we are also proactively endeavouring to mitigate the impact of the decision made by the Bureau of Industry of the US Department of Commerce. Let me stress this: Huawei is doing everything we can to make sure the negative impact of the decision is mitigated.
So in a nutshell, Huawei is here to stay in Europe. We love this continent and we will keep contributing to a strong and united Europe.
I look forward working with you together here in Brussels on this win-win relationship between Huawei and Europe. We have so much to gain together. In the spirit of Robert Schuman, let’s seize this great opportunity!