Soros: EU faces 'existential' threat from 'hostile powers' including Trump's America, Brexit

Soros said the European Union should take a "constructive spirit" into its approach to Brexit negotiations, while working to make itself attractive again to people, especially younger generations.

And as Soros notes, the United Kingdom is an exceptionally well functioning parliamentary democracy.

Billionaire hedge fund manager George Soros has warned the European Union (EU) is facing an "existential crisis", adding that Brexit talks could drag on for five years.

Quoted by CNBC, Soros said Europe's "reinvention would have to revive the support that the European Union used to enjoy".

"The UK's security and defence capabilities are also required by many European countries, and the trading relationship between the UK and the EU is far more substantial than that of Greece and the EU".

Just a day after Brussels published a paper mapping out its vision of Euro Zone integration, Soros warned that the single currency area had become "the exact opposite of what was originally intended" according to the Telegraph.

He spoke of an emerging pro-European momentum that might turn the populist tide around as xenophobic forces lost ground in the Dutch and French elections earlier this year and seem to be falling behind in Germany as well, where elections will be held in September.

Soros fired back at the right-wing leader, by praising Hungarians for resisting "the deception and corruption of the mafia state the Orbán regime has established". The net result was neither voluntary nor equal. "Subsequent generations came to regard the European Union as an enemy that deprives them of a secure and promising future", Soros told the audience.

He stressed the need for a constructive attitude to talks with the United Kingdom, advocating the replacement of a "multi-speed Europe" with a "multi-track Europe", and allowing for greater "democratic choices" in member states.

"As it stands, member states want to reassert their sovereignty, rather than surrendering more of it", Soros said.

Together with top-down reforms, Soros advocated for change coming from citizen-based initiatives to engage the electorate, as the only way to reinvigorate an ailing EU.

Agreement on these - both expat rights and a general consensus on what will be covered by the Brexit bill, if not necessarily the precise figure - will be a priority for European Union negotiators in the opening months.

According to European Union rules, exit negotiations will have to be wrapped up in two years, with the United Kingdom leaving the European Union in March 2019.

  • Carolyn Briggs