Tags: george soros | brussels | speech | eu | crisis

Soros: EU in 'Existential Crisis,' Surrounded by 'Hostile Powers'

Image: Soros: EU in 'Existential Crisis,' Surrounded by 'Hostile Powers'

By    |   Thursday, 01 Jun 2017 10:14 AM

Billionaire investor George Soros, in a speech before the Brussels Economic Forum, warned that the European Union is now in an "existential crisis."

He said recent generations have come to view the EU as "an enemy that deprives them of a secure and promising future."

"Many of them came to doubt whether the European Union can deal with a multiplicity of accumulated problems," he said. "This feeling was reinforced by the rise of anti-European, xenophobic parties that are motivated by values that are diametrically opposed to the values on which the European Union was founded.

"Externally, the EU is surrounded by hostile powers — Putin's Russia, Erdogan's Turkey, Sisi's Egypt and the America that Trump would like to create but can't."

Soros said that since the financial crisis of 2008, the union has been governed by outdated treaties.

"These treaties have become less and less relevant to prevailing conditions," he said. "Even the simplest innovations necessary to make the single currency sustainable could be introduced only by intergovernmental arrangements outside the existing treaties."

Soros maintained the union was designed to be a voluntary association of like-minded states. And he added, they were supposed to surrender part of their sovereignty for "the common good."

"After the financial crisis of 2008, the eurozone was transformed into a creditor/debtor relationship where the debtor countries couldn't meet their obligations and the creditor countries dictated the terms that they had to meet," he said.

Soros warned that if the EU does not change, there is little hope for any improvement.

"That is why the European Union needs to be radically reinvented," he said. "Now we need a collaborative effort that combines the top-down approach of the European institutions with the bottom-up initiatives that are necessary to engage the electorate.

"Most of the damage is felt right now, when the European Union is in an existential crisis, but its attention is diverted to negotiating the separation from Britain."

He said the union must shy away from punishing Britain and use Brexist as "a catalyst for introducing far-reaching reforms."

"The divorce will be a long process taking as long as five years," he said. "Five years seems like eternity in politics, especially in revolutionary times like the present. During that time, the European Union could transform itself into an organization that other countries like Britain would want to join.

And he added: "Within five years (Great Britain) has to hold another general election and the next parliament may vote to be reunited with Europe.'

Soros said he could see a momentum developing to change the EU for the better. . "This would require a combination of top-down and bottom-up elements and I can see both of them evolving," he said.

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Billionaire investor George Soros, in a speech before the Brussels Economic Forum, warned that the European Union is now in an "existential crisis."
george soros, brussels, speech, eu, crisis
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2017-14-01
Thursday, 01 Jun 2017 10:14 AM
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