Seemingly doubling down on his comments in April (following what he called Europe’s “flawed asylum policy”), George Soros has expanded his demands from four to seven fundamental pillars on how to prevent the collapse of the European Union. In an article penned for Foreign Policy titled “This Is Europe’s Last Chance to Fix Its Refugee Policy,” Soros details his plan (over-riding the current “piecemeal approach”) for rescuing Europe before it is too late. Simply put, the billionaire says the EU must take in hundreds of thousands of refugees a year, spend at least 30 billion euros (a minor sum, since he believes it can all be financed by debt and taxes) or Europe faces an “existential threat.”
Soros begins ominously: The EU’s piecemeal solutions are coming apart. Only a surge of financial and political creativity can avoid a catastrophe.
The refugee crisis was already leading to the slow disintegration of the European Union. Then, on June 23, it contributed to an even greater calamity — Brexit. Both of these crises have reinforced xenophobic, nationalist movements across the continent. They will try to win a series of key votes in the coming year — including national elections in France, the Netherlands, and Germany in 2017, a referendum in Hungary on EU refugee policy on Oct. 2, a rerun of the Austrian presidential election on the same day, and a constitutional referendum in Italy in October or November of this year.
Rather than uniting to resist this threat, EU member states have become increasingly unwilling to cooperate with one another. They pursue self-serving, discordant migration policies, often to the detriment of their neighbors. In these circumstances, a comprehensive and coherent European asylum policy is not possible in the short term, despite the efforts of the EU’s governing body, the European Commission. The trust needed for cooperation is lacking. It will have to be rebuilt through a long and laborious process.
This is unfortunate, because a comprehensive policy ought to remain the highest priority for European leaders; the union cannot survive without it. The refugee crisis is not a one-off event; it augurs a period of higher migration pressures for the foreseeable future, due to a variety of causes including demographic and economic imbalances between Europe and Africa, unending conflicts in the broader region, and climate change. Beggar-thy-neighbor migration policies, such as building border fences, will not only further fragment the union; they also seriously damage European economies and subvert global human rights standards.