BERLIN, Aug 14, 2011 (AFP) - George Soros, the US speculator turned billionaire philanthropist, has suggested both Greece and Portugal quit the European Union and the euro-zone because of their massive debts.
"One has so mishandled the Greek problem that the best way forward at present might be an orderly exit" with Greece leaving both the EU and the euro common currency, he said in an interview published Sunday by the German magazine Spiegel.
He suggested the same might go for Portugal.
"The EU and the euro would survive it," he added.
Debt-stricken Greece and Portugal are struggling to implement eurozone and International Monetary Fund-mandated reforms, by slashing spending and raising taxes in exchange for financial aid.
Soros also suggested the time had come for eurozone members to accept the introduction of eurobonds.
"Whether you like it or not, the euro exists. And for it to function properly, countries sharing the currency must be able to refinance a large part of their debt under the same conditions.2
Berlin is opposed to the introduction of such bonds, but Soros suggested Germany, as Europe's strongest financial partner, should be responsible for defining the rules for its introduction.
Soros, who made over $1 billion by betting against the British pound in 1992, also said he had no intention of playing the market against the common european currency.
"I am certainly not betting against the euro. Because the Chinese have a huge interest in an alternative to the dollar and will do everything possible to help Europeans save it," he said.
Both Greece and Portugal, along with Ireland, have been granted multi-billion EU-IMF rescue loans to prevent them from defaulting on their huge debts.