Billionaire financier George Soros said that Germany must either lead the eurozone through its current crisis or get out of the way, and that its insistence on austerity measures, if not checked and replaced by growth strategies, will push the region into a depression.
Reuters reported Saturday that Soros made the assessment of Germany’s current stance in a television interview in Vienna, in which he also said the eurozone would be better off without Germany and its Bundesbank’s insistence on an austerity-only strategy for weaker nations in the bloc.
Soros was quoted saying, “Germany should either lead in developing a growth policy, political union and burden-sharing, accept the cost of leadership, or leave through an amicable arrangement.”
If Berlin continued to insist on strict austerity instead of providing more options to grow weaker economies, he said, Europe would be plunged into an extended depression and the joint currency would fail in a scenario fraught with bad feeling. However, a German departure could leave the eurozone more competitive in exports and able to find lower borrowing costs with a weaker, France-led “Latin” euro.
Germany has thus far supported the European Central Bank’s (ECB) newly announced policy of unlimited purchases of short-maturity bonds to shore up weaker countries like Spain and Italy, which have been battling rising yields that threaten their survival. However, Germany’s Bundesbank has not, and has been outspoken on the subject.