How are relations between the European Union and Russia these days? According to billionaire investor George Soros, the EU is being challenged by Russia from an ideological point of view, and this is something that puts the Eurozone in a risky position.
In November of 2014, the New York Review of Books published a lengthy article by George Soros about how Russia is challenging the fundamental ideology and the socialist values that the EU has always been known for.
Soros believes that many citizens of the EU are seeing the governance of Russia under Vladimir Putin as a valuable alternative to the European status quo. According to Soros, the rising anti-EU sentiment across its member nations is being fueled by admiration of the use of force by the Kremlin in dealing with the Ukraine crisis.
In the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis, the political core of the EU has been deeply affected by antipathy and resentment. Whereas the global financial crisis in the United States mostly affected consumers and the middle class, the EU member nations were left to deal with a sovereign debt quagmire that deeply impacted the welfare of certain nations such as Greece, Italy and Spain.
Aside from the military pressure that Russia has been exerting on Ukraine, Soros has been following the way President Putin has been making it difficult for the former Soviet republic to thrive economically. On one hand, Russia provides underground economic support to rebel forces and separatist regions in Ukraine; on the other hand, it punishes the rest of the Ukrainian population by limiting gas distribution deals and exerting bureaucratic roadblocks to economic treaties that the two nations have traditionally relied upon.
As the situation currently stands, Ukraine is going through a sovereign debt crisis similar to the one suffered by various EU member nations a few years ago. The EU floated a proposal that would benefit bondholders while placing the Ukrainian Central Bank in deeper debt.
According to Soros, the reaction from the EU towards Russia’s use of force and handling of the Ukraine conflict has been lukewarm. Like the United States, the EU does not support President Putin’s actions against Ukraine; however, the European Parliament has stopped short of pressuring Russia or enacting diplomatic and economic sanctions.
Soros believes that the rising anti-EU sentiment is a byproduct of admiration of Russia’s massive display of sheer power. The anti-EU citizen feels that the European Parliament has lost its might; by not standing up to President Putin, the EU is effectively abandoning Ukraine, one of its strongest allies in Eastern Europe.
The opinion of Soros on this matter cannot be ignored; after all, he established a charitable foundation in Ukraine before the country achieved independence. Through his Open Society Foundations, Soros has been contributing to the advancement of civil societies and human rights around the world, and this is something he has been accomplishing for decades.