Billionaire financier and convicted inside trader George Soros fears that Hungary and Poland will benefit from a recent decision from Germany’s Constitutional Court by gaining more independence and sovereignty from the European Union.
In the same interview with Project Syndicate where he said the European Union faces an “existential crisis” due to the coronavirus that it may not survive, Soros also said one of his top concerns is last week’s verdict from Germany’s Constitutional Court.
“When Germany joined the EU, it committed itself to abide by European law. But the ruling raises an even bigger issue: if the German court can question the decisions of the European Court of Justice, can other countries follow its example?
“Can Hungary and Poland decide whether they follow European law or their own courts — whose legitimacy the EU has questioned? That question goes to the very heart of the EU, which is built on the rule of law,” said Soros, whose network has been unsuccessfully attempting for months to smear Hungary’s government with claims that they violate international law.
In last week’s German case, the country’s top court decided that the European Court of Justice (ECJ) overstepped its mandate in the case of the bond purchasing program that started in 2015.
According to the German court, the Central bank of the Federal Republic of Germany has to suspend purchases of bonds under the ECB’s program within three months, unless the ECB proves that such purchases are necessary.
Soros worries nation states may gain more freedom
The verdict is expected to strengthen the hand of nationalists who want greater sovereignty from Brussels in a wide range of cases. Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki hailed it as”one of the most important [decisions] in the EU’s history”.
Soros believes that Poland’s judicial reforms, which have been fought aggressively by the EU, may now have a greenlight if national courts have supremacy over decisions from the European Court of Justice.
“Poland has immediately risen to the occasion and asserted the supremacy of its government-controlled courts over European law,” said Soros. “In Hungary, Viktor Orbán has already used the COVID-19 emergency and a captured parliament to appoint himself dictator. The parliament is kept in session to rubber-stamp his decrees, which clearly violate European law. If the German court’s verdict prevents the EU from resisting these developments, it will be the end of the EU as we know it.”
Despite Soros’s claim that Orbán’s government’s actions “clearly violate European law”, the EU itself announced just this month that none of the actions Hungary has taken during the coronavirus crisis or its state of emergency are in violation of European law. Although the law gave Orbán extra powers during the crisis, the EU found that many countries across the EU have enacted similar legislation.
European Commission legal experts also examined the law and found no breaches of European rules.
The Project Syndicate interview also explored Soros’s plan for a type of bond he labeled a “consol”, which he says countries such as Germany and the Netherlands have been opposed to in the past, but which are needed now during the coronavirus crisis. As with Orbán, he also called US President Donald Trump a “dictator” and lamented that Italy may leave the EU due to the coronavirus crisis.
Soros has made a number of inflammatory comments in the past as well about Trump, Orbán, and migration.