Liberal philanthropist and political financier George Soros asserted that the people of Britain have a genuine sense of regret and shock in the wake of the Brexit vote to leave the European Union.
“It was a general what you call buyer’s remorse,” he said. “It included everyone — the people who voted for leave, those who voted for remain, and those who didn’t vote.”
Soros made his remarks during a panel at the European Council of Foreign Relations at its Annual Council Meeting.
He argued that many who voted to leave the EU wanted to register dissent about the direction of Britain, not thinking that the referendum would succeed.
But he admitted he was genuinely shocked when Britain voted to leave, adding that he “simply couldn’t believe” that it happened.
The result, Soros explained, was a genuine financial market shock equal to the financial crash of 2007.
“We are in the midst of a financial crisis which is comparable to what happened in 2007 and 2008,” he said, blaming the Brexit vote for inciting panic in the financial markets.
Soros warned of a global financial crisis similar to that of the 1930s as a result of the markets reacting to the Brexit shock.
The financial markets, he argued, were good at recognizing the danger of inflation but not recognizing the danger of deflation.
“We are now actually in conditions very reminiscent of what happened in the 1930s, and the only reason why we haven’t had a real depression is because we have learned some lessons from that,” he said.
Soros said the world was “very lucky” to have Chairman Ben Bernanke at the helm during the financial crisis, and praised his willingness to use quantitive easing to save the markets.
“This is a more serious crisis than you had before, for a number of reasons,” he said.
Soros called for world elites to come together and thoroughly fundamentally reform the European Union, warning of a “long drawn-out agony” of countries deciding to leave.
“Europe is genuinely doomed to fall apart, unless we come together and reconstruct it from the ground up,” he said. “This is not a time for compromises.”