George Soros Calls for USD 50 B Aid to Ukraine, Continued Sanctions Against Russia
George Soros expressed his opinion that the European Union (EU) should reorient its current policies towards Russia and Ukraine.
Soros proposes a two-way approach, which balances the economic sanctions against Russia with an increased financial assistance to Ukraine.
This rebalancing has to be carried out in the first quarter of 2015, Soros explains in an article for the The New York Review of Books.
Soros describes the economic sanctions as “necessary evil”, as these are the only means through which the EU and the US can resist Russian aggression without going to war with Moscow.
He argues that an injection of financial assistance to Ukraine will help stabilise the country's economy and will also have a beneficial effect on the EU economy by encouraging exports and investments in Ukraine.
Soros considers that continued pressure on Russia and economic improvement of Ukraine will persuade Russian President Vladimir Putin to give up his efforts on destabilising Ukraine.
He believes that the EU can play a decisive role by offering financial and technical assistance, which could aid the new Ukrainian government to carry out the ambitious reforms, it had set out for itself.
Soros calls on European political leaders to make use of the large unused borrowing capacity of the EU, and suggests several sources, which can be utilized to garner USD 50 billion in financial aid.
One such source is the Balance of Payments Assistance facility, previously used for Hungary and Romania, which has unused funds amounting to USD 47.5 billion.
Similarly, the European Financial Stability Mechanism, used for Portugal and Ireland, has USD 15.8 billion of unused funds.
Soros also calls on the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to increase its lending to Ukraine by USD 13 billion and convert the existing Stand-By Agreement into a long-term Extended Fund Facility programme.
He suggests that European Investment Bank (EIB) project bonds could yield USD 10 billion, which could be used to connect Ukraine to a unified European gas market and break up the Ukrainian gas monopoly Naftogaz.
Other international financial institutions which could come to Ukraine's rescue by providing further USD 5 billion, are the World Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), which could grant long-term financing for the restructuring of the banking sector.
According to Soros, the restructuring of Ukraine's sovereign debt should free USD 4 billion scarce foreign exchange reserves.
He concludes that the sanctions against Russia should be continued after their expiration in April until Putin stops destabilising Ukraine.
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