Tuesday

22nd May 2018

Soros to EU: Help 'new Ukraine' against 'new Russia'

  • Soros, Van Rompuy and Moscovici spoke in front of a full room in Brussels' Fine Arts Museum (Photo: Valentina Pop)

US investor and philanthropist George Soros on Monday (30 June) told an audience in Brussels' Fine Arts Museum that the EU is a model of international governance which needs to support "new Ukraine" in its struggle against Putin's "new Russia".

Soros was speaking alongside EU council chief Herman Van Rompuy and France's former finance minister, Pierre Moscovici.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The 83-year old Hungarian-born Soros said Europe may have overcome the "acute phase of the euro-crisis", but that it still faces a "new existential threat" on the political side: "A resurgent Russia, a new Russia which is a rival form of government for the EU."

"It is very important for the EU to prevail, but the EU has to recognise the magnitude of the situation," Soros said.

"The EU is an exercise in international governance and rule of law, whereas Russia has emerged as a new Russia, a challenge to that way of life. This is not a new invention, the assertion of nationalism led to the Second World War," said the financier who survived the Nazi occupation in his country and fled to England in 1947.

A strong supporter of the EU, Soros is also critical of the "overcomplicated ways" the Brussels bureaucracy works and the lack of vision about what to do in the eastern neighbourhood.

He said the agreements signed with Ukraine should have been more flexible and based on more interaction with the civil society.

"It is an existential issue for the EU to support the new Ukraine, which is exactly what the EU ought to be: engaged people, civil society passionately involved in issues of governance, constitutional reforms. People are willing to sacrifice their lives, as we saw on the Maidan. The challenge is to make sure not only to resist the Russian aggression, but to help this new Ukraine to succeed, with technical assistance for instance," he said.

Van Rompuy, for his part, said the EU was right to sign a free trade deal with Ukraine.

"There is a strong longing in Ukraine for EU values: democracy, rule of law, human rights and away from corruption, manipulation, violence. Were we wrong? Not at all, it's the people who wanted it," Van Rompuy said.

He said Russia was always kept informed about the deal, which took years to negotiate.

"But the aim of Russia is not a free, democratic, sovereign Ukraine, but a weak, unstable Ukraine who may not make the choice for Europe and prosperity. We need to be on the side of Ukraine," he said.

End of ceasefire

Meanwhile, in Ukraine, President Petro Poroshenko on Monday ended a unilateral ceasefire with separatists in the east, saying: "We will attack, we will free our land".

He blamed pro-Russia militants for continuing their "criminal activities" and destroying any chance for peace to be established.

France and Germany had been urging Ukraine and Russia to work together and establish a more permanent ceasefire in eastern Ukraine, where separatists are holding key buildings and border crossings.

EU leaders at a summit last week threatened Russia with tougher sanctions if it does not facilitate peace in Ukraine.

EU diplomats unsure of next step on Ukraine

Some EU countries expect a snap foreign ministers' meeting on Wednesday to add names to the Russia blacklist, but others expect no new decision until mid-July despite an ultimatum.

Soros-linked NGOs defy Orban purge

Hungarian NGOs funded by philanthropist George Soros have vowed to defy prime minister Viktor Orban’s plan to “sweep them out” of the country.

Analysis

EU has no 'magic bullet' against US Iran sanctions

EU leaders in Sofia will discuss how they can protect the bloc's economic interests against US threats to sanction companies doing business in Iran. But their options are limited.

Opinion

Ratifying CETA after 'Achmea scandal' is anti-European

While few people in Europe have heard of the 'Achmea' ruling, the case will have far-reaching consequences. Member states must understand the implications of the case quickly - especially those considering ratifying the EU-Canada trade agreement.

News in Brief

  1. Unknown professor proposed as Italy's new prime minister
  2. 154 German economists warn against eurozone reform
  3. Growing €176bn EU trade deficit with China
  4. All 4.8m Swedish homes get 'war preparation' leaflet
  5. Trump warns Nato allies' low budgets will be 'dealt with'
  6. Only Estonia, Greece and UK hit Nato spending target
  7. EU to start process to counter US Iran sanctions
  8. Macedonia PM sees 'possible solutions' in Greek name row

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersOECD Report: Gender Equality Boosts GDP Growth in Nordic Region
  2. Centre Maurits Coppieters“Peace and reconciliation is a process that takes decades” Dr. Anthony Soares on #Brexit and Northern Ireland
  3. Mission of China to the EUMEPs Positive on China’s New Measures of Opening Up
  4. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOld White Men are Destroying Macedonia by Romanticizing Greece
  5. Counter BalanceControversial EIB-Backed Project Under Fire at European Parliament
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersIncome Inequality Increasing in Nordic Countries
  7. European Jewish CongressEU Leaders to Cease Contact with Mahmoud Abbas Until He Apologizes for Antisemitic Comments
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual Report celebrates organization’s tenth anniversary
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Cooperation Needed on Green Exports and Funding
  10. Mission of China to the EUPremier Li Confirms China Will Continue to Open Up
  11. European Jewish CongressCalls on Brussels University to Revoke Decision to Honour Ken Loach
  12. Sustainable Energy Week 2018"Lead the Clean Energy Transition"- Register and Join Us in Brussels from 5 to 7 May

Latest News

  1. Facebook threatened with removal from EU-US data pact
  2. Defence firms 'reap benefits' of their advice to EU
  3. Athens mayor wants direct access to EU migration fund
  4. Nordics could be first carbon-negative region in world
  5. Zuckerberg and Trump top the EU's agenda This WEEK
  6. Integration of Syrian refugees in Europe needs scrutiny
  7. Bulgarian PM: No asylum reform without stronger border
  8. Eight countries to miss EU data protection deadline