Feb 12, 2019

George Soros: The EU is heading toward a Soviet-style collapse

Billionaire philanthropist George Soros penned an op-ed in The Guardian Tuesday in which he argued that anti-EU forces in the U.K., Germany, Italy and elsewhere are driving the European bloc toward the same fate suffered by the Soviet Union in 1991.

"Most of us assume the future will more or less resemble the present, but this is not necessarily so. In a long and eventful life, I have witnessed many periods of what I call radical disequilibrium. We are living in such a period today."

The big picture: Soros argues that European parliamentary elections in May will be "an inflection point,"with nationalist, Eurosceptic parties projected to win at least one-third of seats, according to the European Council on Foreign Affairs. As kingmakers, these parties could use their vote share to block consensus and limit actions on the rule of law or civil liberties.

Soros highlights the precarious situations in Germany, the U.K., Italy and Hungary as those most threatening to the long-term health of the EU.

  • In Germany, the far-right Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) has become the largest opposition party in the federal government — and has the establishment parties, and Chancellor Angela Merkel, in retreat.
  • In the U.K., where Brexit will be "the defining event for the country for decades to come," both the Conservative and Labour parties are bitterly divided.
  • In Italy, support for EU membership rests at just 44%, as the country's far-right, populist coalition continues to rail against globalism.
  • And in Hungary, Prime Minister Viktor Orban has transformed the country into an "illiberal democracy," while the center-right European coalition to which his party belongs — the European People's Party — sits idly by.

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Trump threatens to "assume control" of Minneapolis over unrest

Flames from a nearby fire illuminate protesters standing on a barricade in front of the Third Police Precinct in Minneapolis on Thursday. Photo: Kerem Yucel/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump threatened via Twitter early Friday to send the national guard to Minneapolis following three days of massive demonstrations and unrest in the city over George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody this week.

Details: "I can’t stand back & watch this happen to a great American City, Minneapolis. A total lack of leadership. Either the very weak Radical Left Mayor, Jacob Frey, get his act together and bring the City under control, or I will send in the National Guard & get the job done right," Trump tweeted after a police station was torched by some protesters.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

In photos: Protests over George Floyd's death grip Minneapolis

Protesters cheer as the Third Police Precinct burns behind them on in Minneapolis on Thursday night. Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Cheering protesters set a Minneapolis police station on fire Thursday night in the third night of unrest following the death of George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody in the city, per AP.

The state of play: Minnesota's governor on Thursday activated the state's national guard following violent outbreaks throughout the week, as the nation waits to see if the officers involved will be charged with murder.

Updated 6 hours ago - Health

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

New Zealand has a single novel coronavirus case after reporting a week of no new infections, the Ministry of Health confirmed on Friday local time.

By the numbers: Nearly 6 million people have tested positive for COVID-19 and over 2.3 million have recovered from the virus. Over 357,000 people have died globally. The U.S. has reported the most cases in the world with over 1.6 million.