BERLIN, March 13. /TASS/. Former German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder expressed outrage at the US threat to cut intelligence sharing with Berlin in case Chinese companies participate in implementation of the next generation 5G network. He also called on Europe to pursue more independent policies, particularly in relation to Russia and China, German news agency DPA quotes the politician as saying.
"This is brazen blackmail," said Schroeder, commenting on the Washington’s threats. He stressed that if he were Chancellor, he would strive for "Europe to obtain relative independence from the US foreign and economic policies".
"We have different interests when it comes to Russia as well," the ex-chancellor noted. According to him, Russia is an important market for Germany and it is necessary to maintain close ties with Moscow.
"We can’t join the attacks on Russia as Washington is expecting us to do," Mr. Schroeder emphasized.
On Monday DPA announced that the US had threatened Berlin to reduce intelligence sharing if Chinese companies were allowed to participate in implementation of the next generation 5G network. Germany's Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy said that it had received the respective letter from the US authorities. The Wall Street Journal reports that US Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell in the letter warned German officials that in the event of Huawei participating in the 5G network implementation, the intelligence sharing between Washington and Berlin would be impossible to maintain at the current level.
Earlier, Berlin made a decision to continue using Huawei gear to launch the next generation 5G network but with tighter security standards and measures. The company was threatened by international economic sanctions after the US and Australia accused it of industrial espionage and collecting classified data with its equipment used in countries all over the world.