Last month, businessman and noted philanthropist stated that the European Union could be on the verge of collapse in an interview with the New York Review of Books.
Normally a critic of German chancellor Angela Merkel, George Soros approved of Merkel’s recent plan over the migrant crisis over refugees from the Middle East trying to relocate within her country. He also noted that Merkel and Germany may be in an a unique position to save the EU.
The union already is struggling with a financial crisis in the across-borders currency, the euro. Some countries are struggling with a high national debt and are requiring rescue packages in euros. In addition to Greece, the likes of Italy, Spain, and Portugal also burdened with large debt. With immigrants swamping Europe, nationalistic interests are starting to prevail over continental ones among the populace.
Over the interview, Soros touched on a number of topics about issues facing Europe as well as thoughts on Russia and China.
Concerning Europe, he noted that the Greek financial crisis wasn’t handled well. The financial crisis has hurt the euro and the fear of the immigrants are threatening the union’s policy of freedom of movement through borders of EU nations. Toss in the United Kingdom’s June 23 referendum on whether to exit the union or not and the EU is facing issues on multiple fronts.
He also talked of Poland and Hungary and their current leaders’ anti-immigrant policy. Soros also said he believed that a resurgent Russia could be dangerous and that played out to a degree in Syria. He also continued to express concern over China and believes that the Chinese government can continue its current process for a short time, but needs to stem political corruption by allowing for an independent media.
Soros, an author of many books and essays, has been critical of the EU before even though he is a huge proponent of its initial model of an open society. One of his most prominent books was titled “The Tragedy of the European Union” in 2014. From excerpts of the book, Soros has pointed out the EU has gone from a “unified global power to a fractious confederation of states” and was showing signs of resentment toward foreign immigrants.
Born in Hungary, Soros earned his degree from the London School of Economics before moving to the United States. Soros made his fortune as an astute hedge fund manager and is the founder of Soros Fund Management and also created Open Society Foundations which supports civil society groups globally through grant money.
He has supported democratic change in Eastern Europe for decades and remains a big believer in progressive policies and globalization.