EU-China relations and 5G: a "threat"? Five cases on the European approach

Studenteropgave: Kandidatspeciale og HD afgangsprojekt

  • Eleonora Sartori
4. semester, Udviklingsstudier, Kandidat (Kandidatuddannelse)
The Fifth Generation (5G) deployment has become a central topic of discussion across
Europe, which finds itself in the middle of the so-called Sino-American tech war. This thesis
investigates the perceptions of ‘threat’ of Chinese-supplied 5G in five EU countries:
Germany, Italy, Denmark, the Czech Republic and Estonia. The purpose of this research is to
uncover patterns, or the lack thereof, of behavior across the EU in regard to legislating on
5G, and specifically the infrastructure provided by Chinese companies, vis-à-vis American
and Chinese interests. This will be done by taking into consideration the economic, political,
and strategic exchanges that each country entertains with China on the topic of 5G as well
as the role of the US in it. Adopting a Neorealist theoretical framework, the study reveals
that attitudes vary greatly across the Union hinting at firstly, a fragmented EU-wide
perspective on the matter; secondly, the United States role in providing strategic
reassurance to its transatlantic partners in times of crisis of the NATO alliance; thirdly, the
importance of economic relations for the EU member states that are mostly involved with
China and the failure in deepening this dimension with younger partners despite Chinese
efforts as with projects like the 17+1. In spite of the outbreak of Covid-19, which is not taken
into consideration here, this thesis hopes to educate on the variety of European attitudes on
5G, inspire a deeper understanding of EU relations with China and with other international
organizations like NATO as well as provide a point of departure for future research on the
topic and actors involved.
SpecialiseringsretningChina and International Relations
Udgivelsesdato14 maj 2020
Antal sider102
ID: 332309010