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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.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Dave Lawler, author of World
14 mins ago - World

What has and hasn't changed as Biden takes over U.S. foreign policy

Photo Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Biden swiftly recommitted the U.S. to the Paris climate pact and the World Health Organization, but America's broader foreign policy is in a state of flux between the Trump and Biden eras.

Driving the news: One of the most striking moves from the Biden administration thus far was a show of continuity — concurring with the Trump administration's last-minute determination that China had committed "genocide" against Uyghur Muslims.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: New coronavirus cases down, but more bad news ahead — Fighting COVID-19's effects on gender equality.
  2. Politics: Biden unveils "wartime" COVID strategyBiden's COVID-19 bubble.
  3. Vaccine: NYC postpones vaccine appointments following shipment delays — Private companies step in to fill vaccine logistics vacuum.
  4. World: Biden will order U.S. to rejoin World Health OrganizationBiden to bring U.S. into global COVAX initiative for equitable vaccine access.
Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Congress grants waiver for retired Gen. Lloyd Austin to lead Pentagon

Defense Secretary nominee Lloyd Austin. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Both chambers of Congress on Thursday voted to grant retired Gen. Lloyd Austin a waiver to lead the Pentagon, clearing the path to confirmation for President Biden's nominee for defense secretary.

Why it matters: Austin's nomination received pushback from some lawmakers, including Democrats, who cited a law that requires officers be out of the military for at least seven years before taking the job — a statute intended to reinforce the tradition of civilian control of the Pentagon.