17:28 GMT06 May 2021
Listen Live
    Get short URL

    American billionaire George Soros has told the Brussels Economic Forum that he sees Brexit as an opportunity for the EU, which he described as being in "existential danger" and had "lost its momentum."

    In his keynote speech at the form, Soros said the EU was in "existential danger" and in need for reform and that Brexit — Britain leaving the EU — should be seen as an opportunity and said that the decision-making process within the bloc had led to "the tragedy of the European Union."

    "All went well until the Maastricht Treaty, which was signed in 1992. The architects knew that the treaty was incomplete:  it created a central bank but did not establish a common treasury. They had reason to believe, however, that when the need arose the necessary political will could be summoned and the next step forward would be taken. Unfortunately, that is not what happened," he told the Forum.

    ​"If the European Union carries on with business as usual, there is little hope for an improvement. That is why the European Union needs to be radically reinvented. The top-down initiative started by Jean Monnet [a French politician and one of the founding fathers of the European Union] had carried the process of integration a long way but it has lost its momentum," Soros said.

    Soros-Hungary Standoff

    The Hungarian Parliament, April 4, passed a motion effectively preventing the CEU — founded by Hungarian-born billionaire George Soros — from operating as an educational institution in the country. It brought an immediate backlash from academics and politicians who said it was a deliberate act to silence Soros, who has been critical of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. 

    Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said, March 31, that the "Soros university" has an "unfair advantage" over Hungarian universities in that it can award both a Hungarian diploma and an American one.

    Brexit Warning

    He warned the EU over the Brexit negotiations, saying that the union should not use the negotiations to punish the UK in order to prevent other member states leaving. 

    "Brexit will be an immensely damaging process, harmful to both sides. Most of the damage is felt right now, when the European Union is in an existential crisis, but its  attention is diverted to negotiating the separation from Britain," he said.

    "The European Union must resist the temptation to punish Britain and approach the negotiations in a constructive spirit.  It should use Brexit as a catalyst for introducing far-reaching reforms. The divorce will be a long process taking as long as five years," said Soros.


    Hungarian Prime Minister Calls US Billionaire Soros 'Enemy of Euro'
    EU Chief in Talks With Ignatieff Over Hungary Crackdown on Soros University
    Poland, Hungary Warned of EU Sanctions Over Migrant Transfers
    EU Parliament Calls for Sanctions Against Hungary Over Harsh Refugee Laws, NGOs
    Brexit negotiations, EU in crisis, EU bureaucracy, Brexit, Brussels Economic Forum 2017, Central European University (CEU), European Commission, European Union, Viktor Orban, George Soros, Hungary, Europe, Brussels
    Community standardsDiscussion