George Soros tells Prospect why democracy is more vulnerable in Europe than the US, and why he fears the EU lacks the resources to fight both Covid-19 and climate changeby Mario Platero / August 29, 2020 / Leave a comment
The novel coronavirus has disrupted the life of every person on Earth. How do you see the situation?
We are in a crisis, the worst crisis in my lifetime since the Second World War. I would describe it as a revolutionary moment when the range of possibilities is much greater than in normal times. What is inconceivable in normal times becomes not only possible but actually happens. People are disoriented and scared. They do things that are bad for them and for the world.
So how do you see the situation in Europe and the United States?
I think Europe is very vulnerable, much more so than the United States. The US is one of the longest-lasting democracies in history. A confidence trickster like Trump can be elected president and undermine democracy from within, but you have a great tradition of checks and balances and established rules. Above all you have the Constitution. So I am confident that Trump will turn out to be a transitory phenomenon, hopefully ending in November. He remains very dangerous: he’s fighting for his life and he will do anything to stay in power, because he has violated the Constitution in many different ways, and if he loses the presidency he will be held accountable.
But the European Union is much more vulnerable because it is an incomplete union. And it has many enemies, both inside and outside.
Who are the enemies inside?
There are many leaders that are opposed to the values upon which the EU was founded. In two countries they have actually captured the government, Viktor Orbán in Hungary (see Samira Shackle) and Jarosław Kaczyński in Poland. But my biggest concern is Italy. A very popular anti-European leader, Matteo Salvini, was gaining ground until he overestimated his success and broke up the government. That was a fatal mistake. His popularity is now declining. But he has actually been [displaced] by Giorgia Meloni of Fratelli d’Italia, even more of an extremist.
The current government coalition is extremely weak. They are only held together to avoid an election in which the anti-European forces would win. And this is a country that used to be the most enthusiastic supporter of Europe. Because the people trusted the EU more than their own governments.…