George Soros has called for pro-Europe voters to wake up before the continent ‘sleepwalks into oblivion’ ahead of the looming European elections.
Writing in an article for business website MarketWatch, billionaire businessman Soros said the EU faced going the way of the Soviet Union if people didn’t act to save it.
‘Europe is sleepwalking into oblivion, and the people of Europe need to wake up before it is too late,’ Soros wrote.
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Soros, pictured at the World Economic Forum in Davos last month, has vehemently voiced his opposition to Brexit
‘If they don’t, the European Union will go the way of the Soviet Union in 1991. Neither our leaders nor ordinary citizens seem to understand that we are experiencing a revolutionary moment, that the range of possibilities is very broad, and that the eventual outcome is thus highly uncertain.’
Soros continued to say that he believes the impending elections for the European Parliament in May this year will be pivotal for the future of the continent, but he argued anti-Europe parties will ‘enjoy a competitive advantage’.
He also stuck true to his previous opposition of Brexit, calling Britain’s imminent departure the ‘defining event for the country for decades to come’.
‘In the United Kingdom, too, an antiquated party structure prevents the popular will from finding proper expression,’ Soros added.
‘The situation is so complicated that most Britons just want to get it over with, although it will be the defining event for the country for decades to come.’
Mr Soros, a major sponsor of the US Democratic Party, is a champion of global liberal causes and has poured thousands into a campaign against Brexit, earning him a controversial status in right-wing circles.
Even President Donald Trump has spoken of conspiracy theories about Soros, including that he funded the caravan of Central American migrants trying to enter the US.
Asked if he thought Soros could be funding the Caravan, Trump said: ‘I wouldn’t be surprised. I wouldn’t be surprised. I don’t know who, but I wouldn’t be surprised.’
The Saturday before, on October 27 2018, a gunman walked into a synagogue in Pittsburgh and shot dead 11 worshippers. He didn’t agree with the president’s policies, but his online activity showed him spreading anti-Semitic conspiracy theories about Soros and the caravan.
That same month, Soros was among a dozen Democrats to receive a mailed pipe bomb sent by a Trump supporter, an incident that convinced his son, Alexander, to accuse the president of encouraging violence.
But the president also claimed Soros funded protesters to disrupt Brett Kavanagh’s contentious Supreme Court confirmation hearing in October last year.
Soros has previously been accused of trying to derail Brexit and said people in Britain ‘just want it over with’
Soros has previously said: ‘I have been painted as the devil. The fact that extremists are motivated by false conspiracy theories about me to kill hurts me tremendously.’
‘I’m blamed for everything, including being the anti-Christ,’ Mr. Soros, 88, told the FT during an interview in December in Marrakesh, Morocco.
‘I wish I didn’t have so many enemies, but I take it as an indication that I must be doing something right.’
The Financial Times named him as their Person of the Year in 2018 for being the ‘standard bearer for liberal democracy’ as it comes under siege from ‘Putin’s Russia and Trump’s America’.
The newspaper said it was honouring the billionaire financier not for his achievements but for ‘the values he represents’ in the face of rising ‘nationalism and populism’ in the face of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and threats of violence.
Soros has also faced controversy in the UK by ploughing at least £700,000 into Best for Britain, which wants MPs to vote down Theresa May’s deal and stop Brexit.
The news of his involvement riled anti-EU campaigners, including former Cabinet minister Owen Paterson, who accused Soros of a ‘disgusting’ intervention to undermine a popular vote.
Elsewhere, Soros has funded pro-democracy groups in Hungary, where individual rights and freedom of expression have come under strain from the authoritarian regime of Prime Minister Victor Orban.
His fortune now stands at $8billion (£6.3billion) – a total depleted by an $18bn (£14.2bn) donation to his philanthropic organisation, the Open Society Foundation.
WHO IS GEORGE SOROS?
Mr Soros was born in Budapest on August 12, 1930, and by the Nazi invasion in 1944 was living a life of middle-class comfort with his father Tivadar, mother Elizabeth, and brother Paul in an idyllic home on Lupa Island in the Danube.
To escape the Gestapo death squads, the young Mr Soros was given the name Kiss Sandor, along with a set of Christian papers. He was then taken in by a man called Baumbach, also known as Baufluss, whom Tivadar paid to protect his son.
Baumbach was an official at the Ministry of Agriculture who had worked with Soros’ father. He was also a Nazi collaborator, and sometimes took the young boy on visitors to write up lists of confiscated property.
This experience, which Soros had no control over, would later lead to inaccurate claims by Vladimir Putin and others that he chose to help the Nazis. Soros managed to survive the rest of the occupation, which cost the lives of 500,000 Hungarian Jews.
Aged 17, Soros fled to London and worked as a porter and waiter before enrolling in the London School of Economics.
He moved to America and became a naturalised citizen in 1956, spending time as a trader before setting up his own hedge fund, Soros Fund Management, in 1969.
A ruthless speculator, in 1992 he became known as ‘The Man Who Broke The Bank Of England’ after he shorted the pound to send Britain crashing out of the ERM. The move earned him a billion dollars in a day.
Some of Soros’ earliest political work was helping pro-democracy groups in the Soviet Union, an action that has gained him the hatred of Putin, who pines for the former USSR.
A key landmark in his political career was the establishment of the Open Society Foundation in 1984.
Soros made a $18 billion donation to his philanthropic organization, the Open Society Foundation.
This has invested money in a wide variety of causes including migration, drugs policy, and the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar.
He has also inserted himself into the polarized world of US politics, earning the ire of Trump by becoming one of the largest donors to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 US presidential campaign.
Among the many slurs issued by the president was that Soros funded protesters to disrupt Brett Kavanagh’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing on October 5.