News » World

The Euro: Is This How It Ends?

The dark scenarios are piling up. Here's a roundup of who's saying what about Europe's never-ending crisis.


It's the story that just doesn't seem to end, and one that could affect the entire global economy.

Yes, dear readers, Greece is back in the global business and economics headlines today.

In a big fat way.

A Grexit — this is what fun-loving economists are calling the possibility of a Greek exit from the euro — is once again the talk of the internets.

Never mind that the European Union doesn't even have a process that legally allows member states to leave the single currency (the Lisbon Treaty only permits nations to leave the EU entirely).

Never mind that Greece doesn't have a stable government, or a real plan for returning to the drachma, or that any new Greek currency would likely plummet as investors raced to cash out, driving the troubled Greek economy into even more short-term chaos.

The mood around Europe is so grim that even Brussels technocrats are attempting to face it with a degree of humor.

Here's how one Brussels jokester put it to Reuters today:

"'s a bit like the drummer in the band — if the band doesn't like the drummer, there are ways of getting rid of the drummer."

For a more serious look at what is a very serious matter, see Paul Krugman's bleak assessment of the Greek situation in last night's New York Times.

The Nobel Prize-winning economist darkly muses over the possibilities of Greece leaving the euro, and even laid out a five-step approach to the "end game," which Krugman warns could happen in months, not years:

1) Greek euro exit, very possibly next month.

2) Huge withdrawals from Spanish and Italian banks, as depositors try to move their money to Germany.

3a) Maybe, just possibly, de facto controls, with banks forbidden to transfer deposits out of country and limits on cash withdrawals.

3b) Alternatively, or maybe in tandem, huge draws on ECB credit to keep the banks from collapsing.

4a) Germany has a choice. Accept huge indirect public claims on Italy and Spain, plus a drastic revision of strategy — basically, to give Spain in particular any hope you need both guarantees on its debt to hold borrowing costs down and a higher eurozone inflation target to make relative price adjustment possible; or:

4b)End of the euro.

The Twittersphere, too, is abuzz with talk of Athens bailing out of the euro, and what that might mean for Europe and the rest of us.

Here's a quick Storify roundup, ranging from Germany to France to a bad economist joke that ties in the box office success of The Avengers: