Billionaire tycoon George Soros has warned the EU it is facing an 'existential crisis' and that Brexit talks could last five years. If, during the divorce negotiations, the EU manages to successfully reform itself and attract wider support from its citizens, the U.K. will want to keep its European membership, Soros told an audience in Brussels.
"The divorce will be a long process taking as long as five years. Five years are a very long time in politics, especially in revolutionary times like the present," Soros noted.
"Negotiating the separation with Britain will divert the EU's attention from its own existential crisis, and the talks are bound to last longer than the two years allotted to them," he said.
Soros said the EU should approach the Brexit negotiations in a 'constructive spirit' and at the same time should make itself attractive again to people, especially younger generations.
British Prime Minister Theresa May, who faces elections on June 8, said earlier this week that Britain would leave the EU without an agreement if it was unable to achieve a satisfactory agreement with the bloc.
While stressing the need for a constructive attitude to talks with Britain, Soros said the EU had become an organization in which the euro zone constitutes the inner core and the other members are relegated to an inferior position.
“As it stands, member states want to reassert their sovereignty, rather than surrendering more of it,” Mr Soros said. “But if cooperation produced positive results, attitudes might improve and objectives pursued by coalitions of the willing might attract universal participation.”
Brexit negotiations are due to start on June 19, after the U.K. has elected a new government. According to EU treaties the talks should not extend beyond March 2019, but political analysts believe technical discussion could drag the process out.
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