Billionaire investor George Soros has appeared to admit he is losing the argument over open borders and mass migration, although he still claims he and his foundation are in “direct opposition” to the tough policies of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal Mr Soros said his Open Society Foundation was working in Hungary and opposes Mr Orbán’s principles, but also appeared to admit he was on the losing side of the argument.
He conceded that the European Union would never impose mandatory migrant quotas on its members, saying:
“I’m opposed to compulsory quotas—they don’t work and they contravene the legal framework of the European Union and the international convention on refugees. There are many countries in European Union that are not willing to accept voluntarily.”
He also admitted that it will be very difficult for Europe to absorb “more than one million” migrants as the political will is lacking, while the cost could exceed 10 billion euros a year. European leaders, he said, “Don’t know where they would find the money.”
Mr Soros has been a lifelong advocate of soft border policies and mass migration. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, who stemmed the migrant crisis in his own country by building a border fence, accused him of deliberately encouraging the crisis.
Mr Orbán said: “This invasion is driven, on the one hand, by people smugglers, and on the other by those (human rights) activists who support everything that weakens the nation-state.
“This Western mindset and this activist network is perhaps best represented by George Soros.”
Mr Soros later responded by claiming his foundations help “uphold European values” and saying: “His plan treats the protection of national borders as the objective and the refugees as an obstacle. Our plan treats the protection of refugees as the objective and national borders as the obstacle.”
However, Mr Soros has now admitted how unpopular his position is. He told the Wall Street Journal:
“My own and the foundation’s principles are not generally accepted, and we have many people opposed to us. But we stand by our principles. We are actively engaged with everyone, particularly in my native Hungary, where our approach is in direct opposition to the one advocated by the current prime minister, Viktor Orban, he is currently engaged in attacking my views.”
Mr Soros has been a strong backer of transnational bodies such as the European Union, and his foundation provides assistance for pro-migration activists. He has also supported “progressive” causes such as the Centre for American Progress, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.