EU 'sleepwalking into oblivion', warns George Soros

'Pro-European majority' must wake up to threat of eurosceptic populists, says billionaire financier 

Chris Baynes
Tuesday 12 February 2019 15:08 GMT
George Soros called for the "sleeping pro-European majority" to awaken
George Soros called for the "sleeping pro-European majority" to awaken (AFP/Getty Images)

The EU is “sleepwalking into oblivion” and “will go the way of the Soviet Union” unless it wakes up to rise of anti-European sentiment, George Soros has warned.

The billionaire financier called on pro-EU political parties to “put Europe’s interests ahead of their own” and defend the bloc “from its enemies, both internal and external”.

Mr Soros, 88, highlighted the UK, Germany and Italy as member states where pro-European voices had been quietened in the face of vocal euroscepticism.

The Hungarian-born US citizen warned “anti-European forces will enjoy a competitive advantage” in May’s EU parliament elections, in which eurosceptic parties have been tipped to win enough seats to “paralyse” the bloc.

In an article for Project Syndicate, he called for “radical” reform of the EU’s political systems to secure its future.

“Europe is sleepwalking into oblivion, and the people of Europe need to wake up before it is too late,” Mr Soros wrote. “If they don’t, the European Union will go the way of the Soviet Union in 1991.”

He added: “The first step to defending Europe from its enemies, both internal and external, is to recognise the magnitude of the threat they present.

“The second is to awaken the sleeping pro-European majority and mobilise it to defend the values on which the EU was founded. Otherwise, the dream of a united Europe could become the nightmare of the twenty-first century.”

The founder of the Open Society Foundation said the UK’s “antiquated party structure” prevented “the popular will finding proper expression”, and suggested party lines should be redrawn “between pro- and anti-European forces".

He claimed Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May were “so determined to deliver Brexit that they have agreed to cooperate to attain it”.

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Mr Soros has previously backed calls to reverse the result of the Brexit referendum, donating £800,000 to the Best for Britain campaign.

The Jewish philanthropist’s support for liberal causes have led to him becoming the focus of right-wing conspiracy theories and antisemitic hate.

Viktor Orban’s Hungarian government and the UK’s pro-Brexit Leave.EU campaign have each been accused of using antisemitic tropes to vilify Mr Soros.

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