Mired in uncertainty, the European Union’s (EU) focus continues to shift from one crisis to another. We have seen multiple countries require bailout packages in effort to deal with excessive debt. One of these countries (Greece) threatened to leave the European Union during negotiations.
Greece’s threat of withdrawal, known as Grexit, is old news, now replaced by the United Kingdom (UK) and its Brexit. The UK will be voting on June 23rd to decide whether it will stay in the EU. This vote is currently dominating both the headlines and the attention of world leaders – some of who have warned of the serious economic and security implications of an exit.
Through it all, billionaire investor and philanthropist George Soros Ukraine has sought to gain the attention of EU authorities and shift the narrative. While Mr. Soros understands the importance of addressing the internal concerns of EU leaders, his desire is to help them recognize that the most serious risks to its foundation are not posed by each other. Rather, the path to regaining its values and principles begins through its support of a non-member state – Ukraine.
When Mr. Soros speaks of Ukraine, the world should listen. His Ukraine foundation and investment activity within the country has provided him with intimate knowledge of events and the opportunity to witness them firsthand. What he has witnessed is a new Ukraine emerging; one led by the very best of its citizens, who are determined to forge a better future and avoid mistakes of the past.
However, Mr. George Soros also recognizes this newer, better Ukraine is being built upon shaky ground. Russian aggression has damaged the Ukrainian economy to the point where its $19 Billion in foreign debt is no longer sustainable. Russian President Vladimir Putin is seeking to stifle political and economic reforms before they take hold and destabilize the region.
Mr. Soros believes the new Ukraine is Europe’s most valuable asset. If it were to fail, the repercussions would dwarf Europe’s current problems, creating refugees among Ukraine’s 40 million people and allowing Mr. Putin to further his geopolitical ambitions.
Accordingly, any assistance provided should be viewed as defense spending. In this light, the amount needed to assist Ukraine would appear insignificant, with its affect on the region being anything but.
With proper support, Ukraine would have the resources to implement desperately needed reforms and defend itself against Russia. The end result of a prosperous Ukraine is a Russia that can no longer blame the west for its problems, weakening Mr. Putin’s ambitions and mitigating his threat to the region.
The EU’s internal focus has resulted in division amongst its member states, pitting creditor countries against the debtor countries and moving it farther away from its core principles.
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