Often, at the end of a long journey, you come to a crossroads. For the last few months Europe, and the world, has travelled on such a journey - with few signs to show the way, into uncharted territory.
Now Europe is, I believe, coming to that crossroads - and there are two possible directions.
One: isolationism – the argument that to protect itself from another event like COVID-19, Europe should turn inwards. That its future, and its digital sovereignty in particular can only be safeguarded by cutting global ties.
The other: cooperation across continents, a push for closer political relationships - including with China - to meet the challenges ahead.
This version of Europe sees it taking a strong role, leading the world out of this crisis, setting an example and achieving sovereignty.
Indeed this model reflects the ideals of one of the founding fathers of the European Union – Robert Schuman. His vision was a Europe of solidarity and peace. But the current pandemic has exposed divisions.
Europe has a unique opportunity to lead the world – but only if it remains united.
As a global company, we know better than most that you can only achieve your goals by cooperating. The current pressure exerted on us, and those who want to do business with us - including our valued partners in Europe - will have a serious impact on a wide number of global industries.
In the long run, this will damage the trust and collaboration within the global semiconductor industry on which many industries depend, increasing conflict and loss.
As a global tech company we believe ICT will play a crucial role in Europe’s recovery, so to jeopardise its effectiveness, and the cooperation required between governments and industry now, would be careless.
" Huawei has been a trusted partner in Europe for 20 years, and we are continuing our commitment with our plans to build a factory here - 5G for Europe, made in Europe - creating jobs, and supporting communities"
ICT has already helped during the pandemic. 5G has enabled remote medical treatment. Cloud applications have allowed research sharing. The search for a crucial vaccine is being accelerated by Artificial Intelligence.
But economies are going to need to restart. Secure and robust connectivity can help rebuild them and help them adapt. Many of Europe’s networks have struggled during periods of home working and schooling – this must change.
AI can help smart city and factory development, bringing efficiencies that will save cash-strapped governments money, whilst helping fight climate change.
And Europe will need jobs and investment. This is no time to limit the flow of money into crippled economies. This is a time to embrace new opportunities.
Indeed Huawei has been a trusted partner in Europe for 20 years, and we are continuing our commitment with our plans to build a factory here - 5G for Europe, made in Europe - creating jobs, and supporting communities.
But now we are faced with a real choice. We will decide what kind of Europe - what kind of world - we want to live in.
A crisis like this pandemic focuses minds – but it can also spread division just like a virus. Europe should use this terrible experience as an opportunity to lead us back – not to the world we had, but to the world we want to have in the future.