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The bloc has been struggling in the face of the ongoing crisis, and last month’s European Council summit agreed a £677billion rescue package aimed at mitigating its impact as part of an overall budget totalling almost £1.65trillion. However, the agreement has been dismissed by George Soros, the billionaire financier who has bankrolled liberal causes across the world via his Open Society Foundations, who argued the bloc has not gone far enough to address the problems it faces.
In retrospect it is clear that the in-person meeting of the European Council was a dismal failure
Mr Soros, interviewed by Italian newspaper La Repubblica to mark his 90th birthday, advocates the idea of a system of issuing what he refers to as a perpetual bond worth £900billion (€1 trillion), with the interest serviced by tax revenue from the individual member states.
He explained: “Europe faces another existential problem: it does not have enough money to deal with the twin threats of the virus and climate change.
“In retrospect it is clear that the in-person meeting of the European Council was a dismal failure.
“The course on which the European Union has embarked will yield too little money too late.
Mr Soros added: “This brings me back to the idea of perpetual bonds.
With reference to the Netherlands, Austria, Denmark, Sweden and Finland, he said: “In my opinion, the Frugal Four or Five need to recognise this.
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“Instead of standing in the way they should turn into enthusiastic supporters.
“Only their genuine conversion could make perpetual bonds issued by the EU acceptable to investors.”
He warned: “Without it, the European Union may not survive.
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“That would be a grievous loss not only for Europe but for the whole world.
“This is not only possible, but may actually happen.
“I believe that under pressure from the public, the authorities could prevent it from happening.”
Hailing last month’s agreement at the time, European Council President Charles Michel said: “We have reached a deal on the recovery package and the European budget.
“These were, of course, difficult negotiations in very difficult times for all Europeans.
“A marathon which ended in success for all 27 member states, but especially for the people.
“This is a good deal. This is a strong deal. And most importantly, this is the right deal for Europe, right now.”
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen added: “Europe as a whole has now a big chance to come out stronger from the crisis.
“Today, we have taken a historic step, we all can be proud of. But another important step remains ahead of us.
“First and foremost, we now have to work with the European Parliament to secure agreement.
“We have a lot of work ahead of us, but tonight is a big step forward towards recovery.”
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