Billionaire financier George Soros has warned that the preservation of the European Union is dependent upon the economic health of Italy and other states hit hard by coronavirus, adding that the current aid policies favor Germany.
The Hungarian-American philanthropist argued that the bloc must issue perpetual bonds in order to raise money to support countries that have suffered the most from Covid-19, singling out Italy as particularly vulnerable. In a transcript of a question-and-answer session distributed to the media, Soros also railed against the reluctance of better-off member states to work together to provide financial assistance for the bloc’s most at-risk states.
The relaxation of state aid rules, which favor Germany, has been particularly unfair to Italy, which was already the sick man of Europe and then the hardest hit by Covid-19.
Soros – who gained notoriety and infamy in Europe after becoming a vocal proponent of the bloc’s open-door migrant policy – said that if action isn’t taken now, the EU “may not be able to survive the challenges it currently confronts.” He insisted that his somber assessment was not just a “theoretical possibility,” but it may actually become “the tragic reality.”
The billionaire’s call to arms comes just one day after the European Commission approved a nine-billion euro (9.8 billion USD) ‘umbrella’ scheme, proposed by Rome, to support the Italian economy.
Although European states are slowly easing lockdown measures, there are growing fears that the economic consequences of paralyzing most commerce will have far-reaching, long-term effects.
Judging by Soros’ own pronouncements, the financier seems to view the deep economic crisis as a clear opportunity.
“We will not go back to where we were when the pandemic started,” Soros told Project Syndicate. “Everything else is up for grabs. I do not think anybody knows how capitalism will evolve.”
The pandemic has revealed deep cracks in the bloc, with European states adopting a free-for-all attitude as Covid-19 swept across the continent. The lack of unity even compelled EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to apologize to Italy, after Brussels ignored the country’s pleas for aid.
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