- George Soros said that the European Union could soon collapse in a similar manner to the Soviet Union if it does not wake up to the growth of right-wing parties across the bloc.
- Soros wrote in The Guardian newspaper that the bloc is “sleepwalking into oblivion” and expressed concern about the politics in some of its largest countries: Germany, Italy, and the UK.
- The billionaire investor has offered similar warnings for the EU before, but he now says that the European Parliament elections in May create an immediate threat to the future of the union.
- If the “pro-Europe majority” is not mobilized, he said, “The dream of a united Europe could become a 21st-century nightmare.”
Billionaire investor George Soros warned that the European Union is “sleepwalking into oblivion” and could collapse like the Soviet Union if it does not fight anti-EU forces before May’s European elections.
In an op-ed published in the UK’s The Guardian newspaper on Tuesday, Soros warned said EU citizens need to become more aware of the “threat” that anti-Europe political parties pose across the continent and that the “sleeping pro-European majority” must be woken up so it can “mobilize it to defend the values on which the EU was founded.”
“Otherwise,” he said, “The dream of a united Europe could become a 21st-century nightmare.”
Soros has offered similar warnings before. He warned in May 2018 that the European Union is in the midst of an “existential crisis” and may cease to exist, and put some of the blame on US President Donald Trump.
But he argued on Tuesday that the growth of anti-EU forces in some of the bloc’s biggest countries, like Germany, the UK, and Italy, in advance of May 2019’s European elections make the threat more urgent.
He said EU citizens need to “wake up before it is too late.”
“If they don’t, the European Union will go the way of the Soviet Union in 1991.”
Soros, a Hungarian-American, has given away more than $30 billion to philanthropic projects in his lifetime and publicly endorses liberal ideals, making him a target for the right.
Soros said that political candidates who oppose the EU will have a “competitive advantage” in May’s elections for a number of reasons, including “the outdated party system in most European countries.”
“The antiquated party system hampers those who want to preserve the values on which the EU was founded, but it helps those who want to replace those values with something radically different,” he said.
In the op-ed, Soros warned: “Most of us assume the future will more or less resemble the present, but this is not necessarily so.”
In Germany, he expressed concern about the “unsustainable” alliance between pro-EU and the rise of right-wing AfD, which says Germany should leave the EU if certain reforms are not made.
In the UK, which has voted to leave the EU, he said an “antiquated party structure prevents the popular will from finding proper expression,” while the two biggest political parties are “internally divided.”
Soros opposes Brexit, the UK’s exit from the EU, and backs an anti-Brexit group that outlined plans for keeping the UK in the EU.
In Italy, Soros said, pro-EU citizens have “no party to vote for” after the previously dominant Democratic Party fell into “disarray” when the EU made the “fatal mistake” of leaving countries where migrants first arrive, like Italy, dealing with much of the crisis. Italy is now governed by a coalition of the Five Star Movement and the Northern League, both populist parties with an anti-EU agenda.
He said that the EU could be saved if pro-EU parties “put Europe’s interests ahead of their own.” “One can still make a case for preserving the EU in order radically to reinvent it. But that would require a change of heart within the EU.”