April 17, 2015
With Greek officials hinting they could be forced from the euro and the country’s creditors growing frustrated with the government’s foot-dragging, analysts are asking what might happen if talks break down.
German officials are “taking just about everything into consideration,” Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said in an interview this week as he urged Greek leader Alexis Tsipras to stop offering his people false hopes. Economists such as UniCredit Bank AG’s Erik Nielsen say it may be just a matter of time before Tsipras’s cash supplies run out and he’s forced to print a new currency.
Adopting the euro was always supposed to be a one-way ticket, so there is no legal precedent or political roadmap for an exit. If you’re waiting for a formal announcement of a clear resolution, you may be waiting a long time.
Next steps for Greece range from retaining the euro to catastrophic divorce; half-measures like having multiple currencies circulate, with aid recycled to repay foreign-currency debts, are also in the cards.
Equally unclear is who would tell the world -- and how -- that Greece has entered an economic afterlife. Possible messengers include Tsipras, the European Central Bank, European Union President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, among others.