The billionaire Hungarian-American open borders advocate George Soros has said Angela Merkel provoked the migrant crisis with her open-door policy, which brought “chaos” to the continent.
However, the investor and left wing activist also accused the “xenophobic” UK Independence Party of “exploiting” the crisis, and said the European Union (EU) was “heading for a disorderly disintegration” after the “catastrophic scenario” of Brexit.
He bemoaned the falling pound, despite the fact he is known as “the man who broke the Bank of England” after he made more than a billion pounds sinking the British currency on “black Wednesday” in 1992.
Mr. Soros’s post-Brexit reflections – published on Project Syndicate – mark a drastic shift in his thinking on the migrant crisis.
In November last year he slammed the Hungarian president Viktor Orbàn for trying to stem the flow from the Middle East and “protect national borders”.
“Our plan treats the protection of refugees as the objective and national borders as the obstacle,” he also said.
This week, less than a year later, he finally acknowledged the naivety of disregarding borders and the profound effect mass migration has on normal people.
He wrote: “German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to open her country’s doors wide to refugees… was not properly thought out, because it ignored the pull factor. A sudden influx of asylum-seekers disrupted people in their everyday lives across the EU.”
Adding: “The lack of adequate controls, moreover, created panic, affecting everyone: the local population, the authorities in charge of public safety, and the refugees themselves.
“It has also paved the way for the rapid rise of xenophobic anti-European parties – such as the UK Independence Party, which spearheaded the Leave campaign – as national governments and European institutions seem incapable of handling the crisis.”
He also, finally, admits the undemocratically enforced open door policies of the EU are behind people’s dislike of the organisation, and are a reason they vote against it.
“The European migration crisis and the Brexit debate fed on each other. The ‘Leave’ campaign exploited the deteriorating refugee situation – symbolized by frightening images of thousands of asylum-seekers concentrating in Calais, desperate to enter Britain by any means necessary – to stoke fear of ‘uncontrolled’ immigration from other EU member states.
“And the European authorities delayed important decisions on refugee policy in order to avoid a negative effect on the British referendum vote, thereby perpetuating scenes of chaos like the one in Calais”, he wrote.
He also conceded that “Britain eventually may or may not be relatively better off than other countries by leaving the EU” but in doing so it had put the “very survival of the European project” at risk.
Adding: “Tensions among member states have reached a breaking point, not only over refugees, but also as a result of exceptional strains between creditor and debtor countries within the eurozone.”
Mr. Soros has long backed transnational bodies such as the EU, and his Open Society Foundations (OSF) provides assistance for pro-migration activists.
He is well known for his support for “progressive” causes such as the Centre for American Progress and the presidential campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.
The OSF website explains: “We believe that migration and asylum policy should be grounded in economic and demographic realities, not driven by temporary political considerations or popular misconceptions.
“In Europe, many of our civil society partners are raising their voices demanding a common European approach in line with international human rights commitments.”