George Soros, a billionaire investor, has said that the European Union is currently in an “existential crisis,” which could hasten the next financial meltdown.
While talking at the annual meeting of The European Council on Foreign Relations, a European think-tank, and delivering a keynote on “how to save the European Union,” Soros declared that “everything that could go wrong has gone wrong” for Europe.
Soros placed the blame on the refugee crisis and the financial crisis for causing an increasing tide of anti-European populism which, when coupled with fiscal austerity, has the possibility to disrupt the economies of the European Union.
He said during the meeting in Paris: “We are now facing the termination of the nuclear arms treaty with Iran and the destruction of the transatlantic alliance. This is bound to have a negative effect on the European, and particularly the German, economy.”
He added: “The strength of the dollar is already precipitating a flight from emerging market currencies. We may be headed for another financial crisis and that’s the last thing we need.”
He said that as exemplified by Brexit, “territorial disintegration” was another implication that Europe was in “existential danger.”
He added: “Brexit is an immensely damaging process, harmful to both sides.”
Soros continued: “Europe needs to do something drastic. It needs to reinvent itself. This initiative needs to be a genuine grassroots effort.”
The billionaire investor stressed that instead of pushing for a more fully integrated Europe, the Union should go with “multi-track” approach which gives the nations more flexibility to decide on the role that they take within the European Union.
This was a point which was agreed upon by the director of the think tank Open Europe, Henry Newman.
Newman stated: “The only plan for the future of Europe is coming from President Macron, who almost literally wraps himself in the flag, and from President Juncker who wants ‘more Europe’. That’s not what people across Europe are asking for or voting for.”
He added; “We’ve seen the Union withstand crises before and get through, so I don’t think we should be calling the end of the EU. But there is quite a severe crisis.”
The speech of Soros came amid a political crisis that is happening in Italy, in which President Sergio Mattarella had denied the appointment of the economy minister who was nominated by a coalition of the far-right Northern League and the anti-establishment Five Star Movement. This indicates that another election must be held.