Donald Trump's administration is "a danger to the world" and is attempting to "establish a mafia state", according to a speech by financier and philanthropist George Soros at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Soros told the audience that the US Constitution, other institutions and "a vibrant civil society" are standing in the way of Trump's plans.

The Hungarian-born billionaire predicted that the Trump administration would be a temporary phenomenon and would disappear in 2020 or sooner. He predicted a Democratic landslide in the 2018 midterm elections, which he hopes will re-establish a functioning two-party system.

Soros's first major political involvement was in funding groups blocking the re-election bid of George W Bush in 2004. This, alongside his vocal opposition to the Iraq War, made him a target of conservative US media.

His public and financial support for Hillary Clinton throughout the 2016 US presidential elections made Soros a hate figure and all-round bogeyman for the burgeoning alt-right movement. He has been the subject of numerous conspiracy theories in alt-right circles, including accusations that he paid for anti-Trump protesters.

War, nationalism and freedom of the mind

The threat of nuclear war was a key theme of Soros' speech. He argued that the US refusal to accept North Korea as a nuclear power is creating a "strong incentive for North Korea to develop its nuclear capacity with all possible speed, which in turn may induce the US to use its nuclear superiority preemptively".

The dominant global creed has reverted from international governance to nationalism, Soros argued. He focused on China, where "Xi Jinping, who has more in common with Putin than with the so-called West, has begun to establish a new system of party patronage". To ensure peace, Soros called for China to be embedded in the institutions of global government over the next two decades.

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Soros warned that the global nationalist trend is putting peace at risk Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP

The billionaire also took aim at monopolistic technology and social media companies, which "while once liberating, are now socially damaging". He said that the power to "shape people's minds" now lies in the hands of a few companies, and that those without freedom of mind can be easily manipulated. In another attack on Trump, Soros pointed to the 2016 presidential elections as an example of this.

Close relationships between technology monopolies and authoritarian states is "an alarming prospect", he said, which could "bring together nascent systems of corporate surveillance with an already developed system of state-sponsored surveillance".

EU in danger of "abandoning its values"

The EU "is in danger of abandoning its values," Soros continued, under pressure from Poland and Hungary who are "adamantly opposed to the values in which the EU is based", and the rise of anti-EU parties elsewhere. If the union is to be saved, he said, it must be "reformed at every level".

One solution would be a "multi-track" approach to EU membership, in which member states are free to form coalitions of the willing to pursue particular goals in which they agree.

The EU should also drop the requirement for member states to adopt the euro, Soros said, as "I would like to see Britain remain a member of the EU or eventually rejoin it, and that couldn't happen if it meant adopting the euro".

George Soros Davos 2018
George Soros called Donald Trump's government "a danger to the world" and predicted a Democratic landslide in the 2018 midterm elections FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images