By: Rob Johnson and George Soros
Back in 2008, a critical opportunity was missed when the burden of post-crisis adjustment was tilted heavily in favor of creditors relative to debtors. The result was not only prolonged stagnation, but also the Republican Party’s embrace of demagogic populism and the election of Donald Trump.
European leaders must resist the temptation to make Italians pay for the sins of their government. It is smarter to offer help.
After the crisis of the past three months, Italy now has a government based on an uneasy coalition between the Five Star Movement and the League.
Last week all that could be said about Italy was that it was facing new elections in the midst of a political crisis. Now, instead of elections it has a government based on an uneasy coalition between Luigi Di Maio of Movimento 5 Stelle and Matteo Salvini of Lega Nord.
It is good to be here. Thank you. I think this is the right place to discuss how to save Europe.
The European Union is in an existential crisis. Everything that could go wrong has gone wrong. First I will briefly explain how this happened and then I will explore what can be done to reverse the trend.
I am, it seems, a ‘foreign plutocrat’. The considerable sum of money I’ve donated to the Remain side of the Brexit debate is ‘tainted’ and should be handed back immediately. I should ‘butt out’ of British politics. All of this grew out of a dinner party I hosted just a few days ago.
The current moment in history
Good evening. It has become something of an annual Davos tradition for me to give an overview of the current state of the world. I was planning half an hour for my remarks and half an hour for questions, but my speech has turned out to be closer to an hour.
On October 9, 2017, the Hungarian government mailed a national consultation to all eight million eligible Hungarian voters purporting to solicit their opinions about a so-called “Soros Plan.” The statements in the national consultation contain distortions and outright lies that deliberately mislead Hungarians about George Soros’s views on migrants and refugees.
Economic reality is beginning to catch up with the false hopes of the general population. They believed the promises of the popular press that Brexit would not reduce their living standards, so they managed to maintain those standards by running up their household debts.
My foundations and I took up the cause of the Roma people in the early 1980s. When we started this work, most Roma lived in Eastern Europe, which was still under Communist rule. Conditions were not good. Unfortunately, since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Roma’s position in society and the attitude of the majority population have declined much further.
I am greatly honored to be invited to address this illustrious audience. The European Commission, just published a reflection paper on the future of the European Monetary Union, which will open a debate that I greatly welcome. I should like to join the previous speaker in dedicating my remarks to the memory of my great friend Tommaso Padoa Schioppa.