by WorldTribune Staff, June 1, 2017
U.S. President Donald Trump is among the “hostile powers” who have brought the European Union to the “tipping point,” leftist billionaire George Soros said.
“Externally, the EU is surrounded by hostile powers – [President Vladimir] Putin’s Russia, [President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan’s Turkey, [President Abdul Fatah] Sisi’s Egypt and the America that [U.S. President Donald] Trump would like to create but can’t,” Soros told the EU Brussels Economic Forum on June 1.
Soros contends that the EU needs to radically reinvent itself to stave off this “existential danger.”
Additionally, Soros said Brexit could take as long as five years and cause major damage to the bloc.
Brexit “is certain to be immensely damaging to both sides,” Soros said. “Negotiating the separation with Britain will divert the EU’s attention from its own existential crisis, and the talks are bound to last longer than the two years allotted to them. Five years seem more likely.”
If the EU adopts a “constructive spirit” in talks and simultaneously revamps itself to boost its allure, British voters may then even reconsider their choice of leaving during the “prolonged ‘divorce’ process,” Soros said. But the chances of this are “slim,” he said.
Formal Brexit negotiations are due to begin this month after the UK’s June 8 election. A spat is looming over the UK’s exit bill from the EU, which could stretch to as much as 100 billion euros ($112 billion).
Meanwhile, the EU has been clogged by institutions whose functioning has become “increasingly complicated and eventually rendered the EU dysfunctional in some ways,” Soros said, singling out the eurozone single-currency area, which he said has become the “exact opposite” of what it was originally meant to be.
Soros contends the EU should also allow a “wider variety of democratic choices” to members and relax its concept of an “ever-closer union,” which presupposes that all states are “headed toward the same destination” and are willing to surrender sovereignty.
“As it stands, member states want to reassert their sovereignty, rather than surrendering more of it,” Soros said. “But if cooperation produced positive results, attitudes might improve and objectives pursued by coalitions of the willing might attract universal participation.”