In an interview with the Project Syndicate, George Soros stated that following the crisis caused by the new coronavirus pandemic, the European Union as we know it may no longer exist.
“I am particularly concerned about the survival of the EU because it is an incomplete union. It was in the process of being created. But the process was never completed and that makes Europe exceptionally vulnerable – more vulnerable than the US not just because it is an incomplete union but also because it is based on the rule of law. And the wheels of justice move very slowly, while threats such as the Covid-19 virus move very fast. That creates a particular problem for the European Union,” said Soros.
The interviewer also asks Soros about the EU’s decision to relax state aid, which resulted in Germany submitting more than half of the requests. He asks Soros whether he thinks Germany’s actions give the country an unfair advantage and undermine the principles of the single market.
Soros responded by saying, “I agree with their argument. It is particularly unfair to Italy, which was already the sick man of Europe and then the hardest hit by COVID-19. Lega party leader Matteo Salvini is agitating for Italy to leave the euro and also the European Union. Fortunately, his personal popularity has declined since he left the government, but his advocacy is gaining followers.”
Soros says this is “another existential threat for the EU” and asks what would be left of Europe without Italy, which he said used to be the most pro-European country.
“Italians trusted Europe more than their own governments. But they were badly treated during the refugee crisis of 2015. That’s when they turned to Salvini’s far-right Lega and the populist Five Star Movement,” said Soros.
In the interview, Soros is also accused of sounding very pessimistic.
“Far from it. I recognize that Europe is facing several existential dangers. That is not a figure of speech; it is the reality,” but says that there are a number of actions that can be taken to save the EU, including issuing a specific type of bond that he says will help save the European economy.
In addition to concerns about the EU, the recent Project Syndicate interview also focused on the coronavirus pandemic.
“This is the crisis of my lifetime,” said Soros adding that “it is an unprecedented event that probably has never occurred in this combination. And it really endangers the survival of our civilization.”
According to Soros, the society will never be the same after the pandemic.
“At the present time, people are dominated by fear. And fear very often makes people hurt themselves. That is true of individuals as well as institutions, nations, and humanity itself,” said Soros.
Soros also discussed US President Donald Trump, with Soros claiming Trump would “destroy himself” and described him as a “dictator”.