George Soros issued a frank warning in an op-ed piece published yesterday. The billionaire activist, and financial supporter of leftwing progressive political causes around the world, urged Europeans to “please wake up” and recognize the internal and external threats facing the European Union. He compared the situation facing the EU today to the Soviet Union in 1991. The supra-national organization is facing a revolutionary moment that could pave the way to an uncertain future. Sadly, Soros points out, Europe’s leaders, and citizens seem not to recognize the dangerous territory which the EU is entering.
For a politically-involved wealthy private citizen to be publicly sounding the general alarm, it speaks volumes on the present state of the EU. Soros has long been a staunch supporter of the European experiment. However, unlike many officials in Brussels, the Hungarian billionaire is also a realist. The messy Brexit situation, unrest in France, Angela Merkel’s declining influence, and of course, the continuing rise of populism, and nationalism have come together to form a perfect storm. Soros is obviously hoping his words will motivate Europhiles to take action before it is too late. Yet even he suggests it possible that the union is past the point of rescue.
European Parliament elections are coming in May. Soros is hoping his call will rally the EU and its supporters before then, and perhaps prevent the anticipated antiestablishment surge from becoming a reality. Fears of what the upcoming elections could bring are already circulating around the continent, and many view the May election as being a referendum on the entire 60-year old European Union experiment. There is a very real chance that anti-EU parties can win enough seats to severely disrupt legislative affairs. If Britain is still an EU member come May, it will send representatives to the European Parliament. An awkward scenario at best, a potential political storm at worst.
How the Soros warning is digested will become known as May draws nearer. Can his words rally EU leaders, and supporters in time, or is the European Union destined to meet the same fate as the Soviet Union?