George Soros Thinks Ukraine Could Save the EU
In terms of fighting for the spread of democracy and transparency in governments, there has likely been no stronger proponent than George Soros. He has dedicated his professional and personal life to making sure that the rights of societies to be free from autocratic and oppressive rule are protected in all parts of the world. While Soros is very concerned about the state of affairs in Ukraine right now, he is also looking at the challenges facing Europe and the EU in particular. Soros has spent considerable time developing a win/win solution for Europe and Ukraine.
One of the major underlying issues facing the EU right now, according to Soros, is popular opinion about the utility of the organization. There is a rising tide of nationalistic sentiment among Europeans because the EU has failed to live up to its lofty intentions of being one of the final defenses against forces trying to threaten democracy in the region. George Soros sees a chance in the Ukrainian situation for the EU to step up and show its worth. While the EU may not be keen on military support to bolster Ukraine’s defenses against Russia, debt forgiveness and more forgiving repayment terms are a good first start at helping Ukraine to make it through these tumultuous circumstances.
Another way that the EU can increase its relevance as an international organization is to present itself as a strong line of defense against Russia. For the EU, this means working to make sure that Ukraine is able to survive this political revolution and be its own stronghold in Europe. Soros’ theory is that the stronger Ukraine is in relation to Russia, the less of a threat that Russia will be to the whole continent. Soros very much sees Russia as a potential rival to the EU and thinks that the EU is not taking that threat very seriously at all yet.
Soros goes one step further in his argument and proposes that the EU could actually turn the Russian people against Putin by showing them a viable alternative. That is, if the people of Russia see that Ukraine is able to thrive on its own and under democratic rule, then they may begin to question the necessity of having an authoritarian leader. This would be a huge win for the EU because Putin has a much harder time maintaining his stronghold without the support of his people. Soros points out that the annexation of Crimea was a feather in Putin’s cap for Russia, so the success of Ukraine could serve to counteract that. Soros offers that any amounts that the EU contributes to Ukraine could be seen as defense spending because it most certainly a way to keep the EU in a stronger position in relation to Russia.
In sum, Soros thinks that the EU would be best served in ensuring the future of Ukraine. This would help give the EU member states a common purpose and keep Putin in check against further aggression in Europe.