- George Soros said Europe may have more bargaining power than it thinks it has in dealing with Russia.
- The billionaire called on Europe to levy a “hefty tax on gas imports.”
- Soros also Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could trigger World War III and lead to the end of civilization.
Europe may have more bargaining power than it thinks when it comes to dealing with Russia.
That’s according to billionaire George Soros, who has urged Europe to use its position as a major consumer of Russian natural gas to take a tougher stance against Russia, Bloomberg reported.
The hedge-fund tycoon, who was speaking on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos on Tuesday, said he sent his views to Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, per the news outlet.
“Europe is his only market,” Soros wrote to Draghi on May 23, Bloomberg reported, citing a copy of the text.
In 2021, the developed economies of Europe were by far the largest importers of Russian natural gas, collectively accounting for almost three-quarters of the country’s total exports, according to the US Energy Information Administration.
“If he doesn’t supply Europe, he must shut down the wells in Siberia from where the gas comes,” Soros continued, according to the news outlet. “It takes time to shut them down and once they are shut down, they are difficult to reopen because of the age of equipment.”
Soros also called on Europe to levy heavy taxes on gas imports. “Russia would never regain the sales it has lost,” he wrote, per Bloomberg.
The philanthropist and donor to liberal political causes said at a dinner at the WEF on Tuesday that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could trigger World War III, which civilization may not survive.
“We must mobilize all our resources to bring the war to an early end. The best and perhaps only way to preserve our civilization is to defeat Putin as soon as possible,” he said, per AFP.
Soros said he wrote to Draghi as the Italian leader is one with “initiative” and “imagination,” Bloomberg reported.
Before taking office as Italy’s prime minister in February 2021, Draghi was the president of the European Central Bank for eight years. In his tenure as Europe’s top central banker, he is credited with saving the euro from collapse during the eurozone’s debt crisis that peaked between 2010 and 2012.