A group of lawmakers from the European Parliament have accused billionaire financier George Soros of attempting to undermine European democracy via his recent closed-door meeting with a director of the European Central Bank.
The 87-year-old hedge fund manager held a private meeting with Benoit Coeure, one of the six members of the ECB's board last November to discuss "euro area deepening," according to an excerpt from Coeure's diary which was published on Thursday. A source close to the matter confirmed that the discussion took place, and that it included the theme of a common budget and treasury for the Eurozone.
The secretive meeting led to criticism from European lawmakers.
"I think it's illegitimate of Mr. Soros to instrumentalize the ECB for his own political purposes," Bernd Lucke, MEP from Germany from the European Conservatives & Reformists Group, said.
Sven Giegold from the Greens/European Free Alliance Group rushed to Soros' defense, insisting that it was the ECB's mission "to work in order to keep the euro zone intact," and that "meeting with someone influential who does the same is part of the mandate."
Soros' meeting with Coeure took place on November 14. An ECB spokesperson said the pair focused on euro area integration, and did not discuss issues such as monetary policy or Brexit. Coeure is a well-known advocate of a treasury for the euro area.