Famed billionaire and philanthropist George Soros has offered up his insight on the state of the European Union as the Syrian refugee crisis continues to flood member nation and impact their shared economy.
In a recent sit-down with the New York Review of Books, Soros placed the epicenter of this crisis on German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her response to the influx of refugees to Europe from Syria. Merkel has been known in the media to be one of the most intrepid supporters of the Syrian refugees, even going so far as to travel to the region in order to broker a series of deals with leaders of surrounding countries to better house the displaced Syrians and allow them to precipitously enter into EU member nations. This has caused her to butt heads with other European leaders, but being obstinate in her position has changed the opinions of many. But could this goodwill be at the expense of the European people?
Soros, who was quick to point out that Merkel herself had predicted an eventual collapse of the EU, accused the German leader along with others of not properly addressing their string of crises but merely managing the fallout, which has delayed the inevitable but has done nothing to address the actual problems that they face.
The only remedy he sees to this situation is for the German people to force Merkel into a line of action that avoids the liabilities Germany has taken on in order to remain the dominant economic power in the EU. This may be difficult to do, as it was mostly Merkel who changed the opinion of the German public concerning the admittance of Syrian refugees to the EU. Rousing support has been thrown her way because of it, and so has a great deal of criticism following demonstrations from far right, anti-immigrant groups and displays of sexual assault purportedly committed by refugees.
This condemnation of Germany’s immigration policy and its pressure on the EU economy is being shared by more than just George Soros. Alex Stubb, Finance Minister for Finland, has stated that while Germany may have been acting morally in supplying refugees with varying degrees of asylum, fundamental freedoms of citizens of the EU are being adversely impacted. He went on to say this comes at a time the EU is also handling a currency crisis and is being worsened by the influx of refugees.
Stubb, however, refused to say that refugees are taking advantage of the Schengen Agreement, which allows citizens of member nations to travel freely between them, for malicious purposes like terrorism. What he did profess was a need to integrate these new people into European society, making them gainfully employed and productive.