- FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images
- George Soros said the European Union could soon collapse like the Soviet Union if it does not wake up to the growth of right-wing parties across the bloc.
- Soros wrote in The Guardian on Tuesday that the bloc was “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 now he says the European Parliament elections in May threaten 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.”
The billionaire investor George Soros said 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 elections.
In an op-ed article published in the UK’s The Guardian newspaper on Tuesday, Soros said that EU citizens needed 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 awoken and mobilized “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 said in May that the European Union was amid an “existential crisis” and might cease to exist, putting 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 – before the European Parliament elections in May made the threat more urgent.
He said EU citizens needed to “wake up before it is too late.”
“If they don’t,” he said, “the European Union will go the way of the Soviet Union in 1991.”
- Riccardo Savi/Getty Images
Soros, a Hungarian-American, has given more than $30 billion to philanthropic projects and publicly endorses liberal ideals, making him a target for the right.
Soros said in the op-ed article that political candidates who oppose the EU would have a “competitive advantage” in May’s elections for several reasons, “including the outdated party system in most European countries.”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.
He added: “Most of us assume the future will more or less resemble the present, but this is not necessarily so.”
He described an “unsustainable” alliance in Germany and expressed concern about the rise of Alternative for Germany, the far-right-wing party known as AfD that says Germany should leave the EU if certain reforms are not made.
He said that in the UK, which in 2016 voted to leave the EU, “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 has outlined plans to keep the UK in the EU.
In Italy, Soros said, pro-EU citizens have “no party to vote for,” as the dominant Democratic Party fell into “disarray” when the EU made the “fatal mistake” of leaving countries where many 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, populist parties with an anti-EU agenda.
He said 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,” he said. “But that would require a change of heart within the EU.”