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Soros: Brexit ‘immensely damaging’ to UK, EU

American billionaire George Soros (file photo)

US Jewish billionaire George Soros has denounced Brexit as an “immensely damaging process” for both the United Kingdom and the European Union, announcing that a campaign for a second Brexit referendum will be launched within the next days.

Soros made the comment at an event held by the European Council for Foreign Relations think tank in the French capital of Paris on Tuesday.

"Brexit is an immensely damaging process, harmful to both sides. This divorce will be a long process, probably five years, which is an eternity in politics, especially in revolutionary times like the present,” he said.

“Ultimately, it’s up to the British people to decide what they want to do. It would be better however if they came to a decision sooner rather than later,” Soros added.

The Hungarian-American, who has long been vocal about Brexit, said the prospect of the London’s prolonged divorce from Brussels could help persuade the British public by a “convincing margin” that EU membership was in their interests.

Throwing his full support behind Best for Britain, a multimillion dollar anti-Brexit campaign that has been calling for a second referendum, Soros said it was time to engage with voters to pave the way for the UK to stay in the 28-member bloc as the campaign would start “in the next few days.”

“Best for Britain fought for, and helped to win, a meaningful parliamentary vote which includes the option of not leaving at all. This would be good for Britain but would also render Europe a great service by rescinding Brexit and not creating a hard-to-fill hole in the European budget,” he said.

“But the British public must express its support by a convincing margin in order to be taken seriously by Europe. That’s what Best for Britain is aiming for by engaging the electorate. It will publish its manifesto in the next few days,” Soros noted.

Soros has reportedly donated some $555,000 to Best for Britain, which was set up last year by anti-Brexit campaigner Gina Miller.

EU facing 'an existential crisis'

During his speech in Paris on Tuesday, the 87-year-old Zionist billionaire said Brexit was not the only issue threatening the future of the EU and claimed that the bloc was facing "an existential crisis.”

“Most of the damage is felt right now when the European Union is in an existential crisis, but its attention is diverted to negotiating a separation agreement with Britain. That’s a lose-lose proposition, but it could be converted into a win-win situation,” Soros said.

Highlighting the benefits of EU membership, Hungarian-born Soros, however, said that the bloc needed reforms so as to potentially encourage London to rejoin the union in the future.

“The economic case for remaining a member of the EU is strong, but it will take time for it to sink in,” he said. “During that time the EU needs to transform itself into an association that countries like Britain would want to join, in order to strengthen the political case.”

Soros has been known for providing financial support to opposition movement around the globe from the Russian capital Moscow to his own country of origin Hungary.

He became a hate figure in Britain after “breaking the Bank of England” in 1992, where he made billion dollar battings against sterling on Black Wednesday and forced Britain to withdraw the pound from the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM).

Soros has made no effort to hide his disregard for Brexit, a decision that 52 percent of Britons made during a referendum in 2016 in a bid to create more jobs by breaking free from the bloc’s regulations and stopping immigration into the UK.

In a January speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Soros predicted that British Prime Minister Theresa May, who has so far failed to put forth a meaningful Brexit roadmap, would not last long in power.

He also said British people were "in denial" about the financial implications of leaving the EU.

London is committed to leaving the EU's single market and customs union after Brexit, which officially takes place on 29 March next year. A transition period is currently set to last until 31 December, 2020.

The British government has faced fierce criticism both at home and by the EU for its lack of clarity on its Brexit strategy.

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