George Soros tells Germany, 'Lead or leave the euro'

Billionaire financier George Soros has made an impassioned plea to Germany: 'Either throw in your fate with the rest of Europe, take the risk of sinking or swimming together, or leave the euro, because if you have left, the problems of the eurozone would get better,' he says.

by Rebecca Burn-Callander
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

As the latest chapter in the eurozone saga unfolds - a market backlash to the realisation that Mario's Draghi's pronouncement on bond-buying was more 'pie the the sky' than 'stop the sky falling in' - Soros has decided to add his tuppence-worth to the debate. Germany, he asserts, should make up its mind whether it's in or out.

This is not a new argument. The buck - or should that be 'cent' - has always stopped with Germany as the economic powerhouse of the 17-nation bloc. While ECB president Draghi received the full backing of the majority of the member states for his unlimited bond purchase plan, Germany's Bundesbank and Chancellor Angela Merkel remain sceptical and will have final say on the money that gets paid out.

That's not to say that Draghi has been entirely overruled by his Teutonic rivals. Simply that the measures that Germany could impose on those nations looking to access the scheme could be so strict as to destroy their sovereignty altogether. A situation anathema to any country, regardless of its economic pain.

This is why Soros' plea is directed straight at Germany, not at the troika (The EC, ECB and IMF). It is only with Germany's cooperation, or (controversially) its total abdication from the euro that any progess has be made, he argues. 'Lead or leave: this is a legitimate decision for Germany to make,' he says. 'If they insist on a policy of austerity, of reinforcing the current deflationary stance, and they won’t budge from that, then in fact it would even be better for them in the long run [to leave].'

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