There simply is no mechanism to leave the euro currently. Why?
It was never envisaged by the bright-eyed politicians who created the impetus for the currency, which debuted in 1999.
“The treaties indeed confirm what we have been saying here: the treaty doesn’t foresee an exit from the eurozone without exiting the EU,” said a European Commission spokeswoman this week.
The treaties she is referring to are the Maastricht treaty from 1992, which led to the creation of the euro, and its successor, the Lisbon treaty in 2007.
So under its current obligations, for Greece to exit the euro, it would have to leave the EU. This option was only added in Article 50 of the Lisbon treaty.
Goodbye Euro, goodbye EU.
Leaving is straightforward; it involves a member state notifying the European Council – that is, the heads of state of the EU – that it wants to go. Greece would then be free to reintroduce the Drachma, it’s previous national currency.
The European Council should then agree the terms of the exit via a qualified majority.
Would leaving the EU cause Greece’s crisis to get worse?
The key part of Article 50 involves “setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union”.