#Brexit: Response to Brexit has been positive, says George Soros

George_Soros_-_Festival_Economia_2012_02Having feared the impact of a Brexit vote, billionaire and chairman of the Open Society Foundations George Soros (pictured) has welcomed the spontaneous and positive response it has generated in the UK. He says that Brexit has achieved what the EU has never been able to generate, a grass roots pro-European movement, with young people who did not even vote—particularly young people under 35 – becoming mobilized.

Soros points to the four million people who petitioned the UK Parliament to hold a second referendum; he said that by the time the Parliamentary debate on this petition takes place, it is not inconceivable that more people will have signed the petition than voted for Brexit. This will require an additional 13.4 million signatures, which is quite a high bar.

Sadly, recent YouGov polling would suggest that only 27% of Britons say the UK should try to reverse the referendum decision and stay in the EU. Some high-profile Brexit supporters like Kelvin MacKenzie, former editor of The Sun, are already expressing buyer’s remorse, but this has not yet turned into a general movement.

The additional £350 million a week for the NHS promised by the Vote Leave campaign, which was a winning argument for those people concerned by the lack of funding for the UK’s health service, has turned out to be an ‘aspiration’ rather than a promise. The £350m figure itself has been refuted by a source that a true Brexiteer can rely on, namely Nigel Farage MEP. While this figure belonged to the Vote Leave campaign (not Farage’s Leave.EU), no one can recall Farage strenuously refuting the claim.

Soros argues that the referendum has highlighted for people in Britain just what they stand to lose by leaving the EU. He believes that the EU could move away from inevitable disintegration towards a more positive, stronger and better Europe.

Soros also says that the EU should not penalize British voters while ignoring their legitimate concerns about its deficiencies. European leaders should recognize their own mistakes and acknowledge the democratic deficit in the current institutional arrangements. Rather than seeing Brexit as the negotiation of a divorce, they should seize it as an opportunity to fundamentally reform the EU.

Soros adds that the EU has to be able to give a positive answer to the question of whether disaffected voters in France, Germany, Sweden, Italy, Poland and elsewhere see the EU benefiting their lives? “If the answer is yes, the EU will emerge stronger. If the answer is no, it will eventually blow apart.”

To see the full text of the George Soros speech at European Parliamentary hearing: Budgetary implications of the current refugee and migration crisis.


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Category: A Frontpage, Brexit, EU, UK

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