Hungary sees Huawei as strategic partner despite security concerns

BUDAPEST (Reuters) - Hungary regards China’s Huawei Technologies as a strategic IT partner, the Finance Ministry said on Tuesday, shrugging off security concerns about using its products among many western governments.

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Huawei is seen at its showroom in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, China March 29, 2019. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu/File Photo

In a statement issued after Finance Minister Mihaly Varga met a senior Huawei executive in Beijing, Varga was quoted saying Huawei would help Hungary develop its broadband internet network and meet its goal of high-speed internet access for 90 percent of families by 2025, as per an earlier agreement

Huawei has faced growing scrutiny around the globe due to fears that the Chinese government could use its technology for spying. The United States has called on its allies not to use Huawei’s products.

The Chinese group has repeatedly denied allegations that its technology could be used for spying.

Huawei employs more than 2,000 people and runs its biggest logistic center outside China in Hungary, Varga noted after his meeting with James Li, regional president of Huawei’s European operations.

In central Europe, Hungary and Poland have been building close relations with China in recent years, seeking economic opportunities.

But in January Poland arrested a Huawei executive on spying charges and Warsaw is one of several European countries considering excluding Huawei equipment from its next generation network.

Elsewhere in the region, the Czech Republic’s largest telecommunications network operator CETIN said last month that risks related to Huawei’s technology were manageable.

Romania’s Special Telecommunications Service (STS) has said Huawei equipment was not used in any of the state’s critical infrastructure under its administration.

But Romania’s biggest opposition party will trigger a public inquiry into Huawei’s contribution to critical infrastructure and seek to bar it from 5G network development, due to mounting security concerns, its IT expert said.

Reporting by Sandor Peto; Editing by David Holmes