Germany must lead or leave the euro - Soros

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George Soros has called on Germany to leave the euro. The billionaire investor will warn in a speech to financiers in Berlin tonight that Europe faces a prolonged depression and an acrimonious end to the European unification project if steps are not taken to help its southern nations grow their way out of the debt crisis.

"Germany is foisting the wrong policy on Europe," said Mr Soros, who runs the $25bn Cayman Islands-based Soros Fund Management. "This is not the result of some evil plot but an unintended consequence of an unplanned course of events."

Writing in this week's New York Review of Books, Mr Soros warned that German politicians have started to figure out the advantages the policy has conferred on Germany and this has begun to influence their policy decisions. "As time passes, there are increasing grounds for blaming Germany for the policies it is imposing on Europe," he said. "This is truly a tragedy of historic significance."

Mr Soros describes himself as a "fervent supporter" of the EU. He said a German exit from the euro is better than letting the current policies continue. "It would be a disruptive but manageable one-time event, instead of the chaotic and protracted domino effect of one debtor country after another being forced out of the euro by speculation and capital flight," Mr Soros said. "After the initial disruptions the euro areas would swing from depression to growth."

However if Germany could be persuaded to change its policy stance, that may be a better outcome. "The best course of action is to persuade Germany to choose between becoming a more benevolent hegemon, or leading nation, or leaving the euro. In other words, Germany must lead or leave," Mr Soros said.