“It’s much better to face harsh reality than to close your eyes to it.”
That’s a quote from a recent interview by Gregor Peter Schmitz of the German magazine WirtschaftsWoche with financier George Soros. It sums up the interview because, according to Soros, the European Union (EU) is now facing five or six crises at once. He says it’s better to acknowledge problems than to pretend they don’t exist. That’s the only chance you have of solving the problems.
The first crisis is Greece, which is still greatly in debt, and, therefore, economically depressed.
Soros cites Putin and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as another one, including continuing economic and political problems in that country.
Another crisis is the upcoming British referendum on whether or not to withdraw from the EU.
The most prominent EU crisis at this time is the large number of Syrian refugees seeking sanctuary in Europe.
According to Soros, the root cause of this crisis is the conflict in Syria. The recent terrorist attacks in Paris made the situation worse by how they affected European public opinion against Muslims in general. He says Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, realizes the huge influx of Muslim refugees could destroy the EU, and that has affected her response.
He believe the German people hold the solution to preventing the collapse of the EU. Thanks to Merkel’s leadership, Germany has attained a position of hegemony within the EU, but did so cheaply. Now Germans must decide whether or not they’re willing to accept the responsibilities, and the price, of being the EU’s dominant power.
On the refugee crisis, Merkel is acting out of principle, for the higher good of the EU in general. She is willingly risking her leadership position by possibly going against the wishes of the majority of German voters. He believes Merkel shares his vision of an open society because she grew up under East German communist dictatorship.
George Soros has had lived an unusual life. Born in Hungary in 90, as a child he had to survive the Nazi occupation of that country. At the end of World War II, a communist government took over. However, Soros escaped to England, where he graduated from the London School of Economics. He settled in the United States and founded a famously successful hedge fund, Soros Fund Management.
He is also the author of fourteen books. His first, THE ALCHEMY OF FINANCE, was popular with traders looking to learn how Soros became such a profitable trader.