Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Soros: The EU In An 'Existential Crisis', And The Need For A 'Savior'

"Everything Has Gone Wrong": Soros Warns "Major" Financial Crisis Is Coming

[It appears that the EU needs a 'savior' to hold things together with the promises of a better future. It needs to happen relatively soon, because the EU appears to be tearing at the seams. We know how this ends, therefore the solution to the EU's problems should be relatively soon]

In a speech delivered Tuesday in Paris, billionaire investor George Soros warned that the world could be on the brink of another devastating financial crisis, as debt crises reemerge in Europe and a strengthening dollar pressures both the US's emerging- and developed-market rivals.
And Europe, with Italy dragging worries about the possible dissolution of the euro back to the forefront, won't be far behind. Political pressures like the dissolution of its transatlantic alliance with the US will eventually translate into economic harm. 
Presently, Europe is facing three pressing problems: The refugee crisis, the austerity policy that has hindered Europe's economic development, and territorial disintegration - not only Brexit, but the threat that countries like Italy might follow suit...

But in the near-term, the US's decision to pull out of the Iran deal is straining Europe's alliance with its most important Western partner just as the strengthening dollar is constricting financial conditions around the world.

Until recently, it could have been argued that austerity is working: the European economy is slowly improving, and Europe must simply persevere. But, looking ahead, Europe now faces the collapse of the Iran nuclear deal and the destruction of the transatlantic alliance, which is bound to have a negative effect on its economy and cause other dislocations.
The strength of the dollar is already precipitating a flight from emerging-market currencies. We may be heading for another major financial crisis. The economic stimulus of a Marshall Plan for Africa and other parts of the developing world should kick in just at the right time. That is what has led me to put forward an out-of-the-box proposal for financing it.

Adding to the urgency, it is no longer a "figure of speech" to claim that the EU is in "existential danger," Soros said. It's an obvious reality.
“The EU is in an existential crisis. Everything that could go wrong has gone wrong,” he said.
To escape the crisis, “it needs to reinvent itself.”
"The United States, for its part, has exacerbated the EU’s problems. By unilaterally withdrawing from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, President Donald Trump has effectively destroyed the transatlantic alliance. This has put additional pressure on an already beleaguered Europe. It is no longer a figure of speech to say that Europe is in existential danger; it is the harsh reality."

The only way to prevent an all-out collapse, Soros explained, would be a 30 billion euro ($35.4 billion) "Marshall Plan" for Africa that Soros believes would help stem the flow of migrants into Europe, something that, Soros finally admits, is one of the biggest problems facing Europe.  The EU, Soros believes, should use its "largely unused" borrowing authority to finance the plan.

“We may be heading for another major financial crisis,” Soros said explicitly.

The alternative, Soros claims, is further "territorial disintegration" of the EU as countries that have largely suffered as a result of the monetary union contemplate leaving. To prevent this, Soros says Europe must acknowledge and address the flaws of the euro system. Perhaps the most glaring of which is that the euro created an entrenched two-tiered system of debtors and creditors.

I personally regarded the EU as the embodiment of the idea of the open society. It was a voluntary association of equal states that banded together and sacrificed part of their sovereignty for the common good. The idea of Europe as an open society continues to inspire me.
But since the financial crisis of 2008, the EU seems to have lost its way. It adopted a program of fiscal retrenchment, which led to the euro crisis and transformed the eurozone into a relationship between creditors and debtors. The creditors set the conditions that the debtors had to meet, yet could not meet. This created a relationship that was neither voluntary nor equal – the very opposite of the credo on which the EU was based.

As some will remember, Soros Fund Management - the family office that manages Soros's money, which he has mostly dedicated to his "Open Society" network of NGOs - closed most of its long-EM positions after President Trump defeated Hillary Clinton. Of course, where Soros sees danger, others see opportunity. For example, Mark Mobius "un-retired" last month to open a fund that he hopes will take advantage of opportunities amid the EM carnage, as analysts continue to see EM as the area that's most vulnerable to a re-pricing in USD.

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