Tuesday

19th Jun 2018

Iran fiasco could cause EU financial crash: Soros

The EU is staring down the barrel of a "major financial crisis" and an "existential" threat, but Brexit, one of its biggest problems, could be overturned.

That was the message in a speech in Paris by George Soros this week.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... our join as a group

  • Orban (l) exemplified rise of EU populists, Soros said (Photo: premier.gov.pl)

"We may be heading for another major financial crisis," the 87-year old billionaire trader and philanthropist, who was born in Hungary, but who lives in New York, said.

"The European Union is in an existential crisis. Everything that could go wrong has gone wrong," he said.

The US decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear arms control treaty could undermine market confidence in the US-European alliance, the world's top military and economic bloc, Soros said.

"We are now facing the termination of the nuclear arms deal with Iran and the destruction of the transatlantic alliance. This is bound to have a negative effect on the European economy," he said.

Soros spoke at a meeting of the European Council of Foreign Relations, a think tank, in the French capital, on Tuesday (29 May).

The EU faced an "existential" threat from the rise of populists in Europe, fuelled by the migration crisis, he also said.

"Unscrupulous leaders have exploited it [the migration crisis] even in countries that have accepted hardly any refugees. In Hungary, [prime minister] Victor Orban based his reelection campaign on falsely accusing me of planning to flood Europe, Hungary included, with Muslim refugees," Soros said.

"He is now posing as the defender of his version of a 'Christian Europe' that is challenging the values on which the European Union was founded," Soros added.

Brexit

Brexit, which he called "an immensely damaging process", "exemplified" how populist forces could wreak EU "territorial disintegration", he said.

The UK decision to leave the EU next year could still be overturned by a British parliamentary vote or a second referendum in the next five years, he also said, however.

"Divorce will be a long process, probably taking more than five years. Five years is an eternity in politics," he said.

"The British public must express its support [for staying in the EU] by a convincing margin in order to be taken seriously by Europe," he said.

Soros earlier contributed €800,000 to a pro-remain group, called Best for Britain, in the UK.

His Paris remarks were dubbed anti-democratic by pro-leavers in Britain's ruling Conservative Party.

"George Soros wants to overturn the largest democratic mandate in British electoral history," Andrea Jenkyns, a Tory MP told The Times, a British newspaper, on Wednesday, referring to the Brexit referendum in 2016.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, another Tory MP, told the LBC radio station: "We had the biggest democratic exercise in our nation's history - 17.4 million people voted to leave and of course that should be implemented. If, in 30 years' time, the UK wants to rejoin, that would be a matter for the electorate then."

Marshall Plan

The EU should also get its house in order on migration if it wanted to regain political ground from populists, Soros added in Paris.

Paying for African states to become more attractive places to live was the only way to reduce the numbers of people coming to Europe in the long term, he said.

The "Marshall Plan for Africa" would "require at least €30bn a year for a number of years" he said, referring to the US programme that paid for the reconstruction of Europe after World War II.

That meant member states such as Germany and France might have to set aside concerns on debt and extra EU spending, he indicated.

"Throughout history, the national debt always grew at times of war," Soros said.

"Harsh reality may force member states to set aside their national interests in the interest of preserving the European Union," he said.

Feature

Hungary activists defiant after 'Soros Mercenaries' attack

Immediately after Orban's landslide victory in April, a list of so-called 'Soros mercenaries' was published by pro-government media. Those on it - mostly human rights defenders, activists and Orban critics - are now anxious but vow to continue.

US billionaire Soros warns EU of 'existential danger'

The billionaire philanthropist, George Soros, said the European Union should use Brexit as a catalyst for change if it wants to survive, and called his native country Hungary a 'mafia state'.

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.

High noon for British PM on Brexit

British MPs are voting on a Brexit bill that could keep the UK in the EU and destabilise the government, as the clock ticks to the exit date.

EU tells UK to stop with Brexit 'fantasies'

After the latest round of Brexit talks, a senior EU official sounded the alarm bell: progress on the key Irish border issue remains elusive, while the London government is chasing pipe dreams.

Feature

At Northern Irish border, Brexit risks hard-won peace

In Protestant and Catholic communities where the 1998 Good Friday agreement put an end to armed conflict, the possibility of a hard border on the island of Ireland brings back fearful memories. A new border could unravel that peace process.

EU tells UK to stop with Brexit 'fantasies'

After the latest round of Brexit talks, a senior EU official sounded the alarm bell: progress on the key Irish border issue remains elusive, while the London government is chasing pipe dreams.

Visual Data

Mediterranean towns ready for EU-sponsored free wifi

The European Union's fund for free wireless internet connection hotspots is most popular in Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Italy, Malta, Slovenia and Romania. Check if your municipality pre-registered.

News in Brief

  1. Merkel and Macron meet over migration and eurozone
  2. Salvini plans census of Roma communities
  3. Slovenia to take Croatia to court in border row
  4. Parliamentary setback over corruption in Romania
  5. Lords force new vote for UK parliament to influence Brexit
  6. Report: Audi CEO arrested over Dieselgate
  7. EU-Australia trade talks kick off in Brussels next month
  8. France and Germany moving closer to eurozone reform

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMHRMI Launches Lawsuits Against Individuals and Countries Involved in Changing Macedonia's Name
  2. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  3. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  5. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  8. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma
  9. PKEE - Polish Energy AssociationCommon-Sense Approach Needed for EU Energy Reform
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to Lead in Developing and Rolling Out 5G Network
  11. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Economic and Trade Relations Enjoy a Bright Future
  12. ACCAEmpowering Businesses to Engage with Sustainable Finance and the SDGs

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersCooperation in Nordic Electricity Market Considered World Class Model
  2. FIFAGreen Stadiums at the 2018 Fifa World Cup
  3. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Work Together to Promote Sustainable Development
  4. Counter BalanceEuropean Ombudsman Requests More Lending Transparency from European Investment Bank
  5. FIFARecycling at the FIFA World Cup in Russia
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersOECD Report: Gender Equality Boosts GDP Growth in Nordic Region
  7. Centre Maurits Coppieters“Peace and Reconciliation Is a Process That Takes Decades” Dr. Anthony Soares on #Brexit and Northern Ireland
  8. Mission of China to the EUMEPs Positive on China’s New Measures of Opening Up
  9. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOld White Men are Destroying Macedonia by Romanticizing Greece
  10. Counter BalanceControversial EIB-Backed Project Under Fire at European Parliament
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersIncome Inequality Increasing in Nordic Countries
  12. European Jewish CongressEU Leaders to Cease Contact with Mahmoud Abbas Until He Apologizes for Antisemitic Comments

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us