Monday 3 February 2020 3:10 pm

Angela Merkel fails to unite government over Huawei plan

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is failing in her bid to unite the coalition government over a verdict on whether to allow Huawei to build the country’s 5G networks.

Merkel has attempted to rule out a total ban on Huawei, but has been forced to strike a compromise with hardline ministers in her Christian Democratic Union party who want to exclude the controversial Chinese tech firm.

Read More: Government’s Huawei 5G cap will cost BT £500m

Attempts to reach an agreement last week failed and will be resumed later this month, Bloomberg reported, citing three officials familiar with the process.

The row over Huawei has long been a source of tension within Merkel’s government, with her Social Democrat (SPD) partners also calling for a fiercer clampdown on the embattled tech firm.

The government has announced plans to toughen up scrutiny of telecoms suppliers, but is yet to issue a verdict on a potential ban.

The US has led calls for a ban on Huawei over concerns its equipment could pose a threat to national security — something the company has always denied.

The UK last week confirmed it will allow the Shenzhen-based firm to build some parts of the UK’s 5G networks, but will exclude it from sensitive areas and introduce a cap on its market share.

But Orange, which is France’s largest telecoms company, has shunned Huawei in favour of rivals Nokia and Ericsson.

In addition to security concerns, Merkel will be forced to balance concerns about angering China, which is the country’s largest trading partner.

Read More: Mike Pompeo urges UK to reconsider Huawei 5G decision

Last week Huawei hit back at reports that the German government had evidence of a so-called smoking gun proving that it had cooperated with Chinese intelligence services.

“Huawei Technologies has never, and will never, do anything to compromise the security of networks and data of its customers,” the firm said in a statement.