Ten influential people who believe the Euro must split

27th June 2011

The writers differ in whether this is only Greece or a host of other countries. Some have UK cabinet experience, some Nobel prizes in economics and hail from the left, the right and the centre of the political spectrum.

But all believe the currency will lose members – starting in Athens.


George Soros, billionaire investor and the man who broke the pound out of the Exchange Rate Mechanism is reported here in the San Francisco Chronicle saying the euros demise is inevitable.

He said: "There's no arrangement for any countries leaving the euro, which in current circumstances is probably inevitable. We are on the verge of an economic collapse which starts, let's say, in Greece, but could easily spread. The financial system remains extremely vulnerable."

Former Justice Secretary Jack Straw gives his view that the euro cannot last to the House of Commons and warns the Government to prepare for its end with this report and video on the BBC website.

Straw said: "The Government should recognise that this eurozone cannot last. It is the responsibility of the British Government to be open with the British people now about the alternative prospects. Since the euro in its current form is going to collapse, is it not better that that happens quickly rather than it dying a slow death?"

The mayor of London Boris Johnson has also suggested letting reckless Greece go its own way in the Telegraph

He writes: "For years, European governments have been saying that it would be insane and inconceivable for a country to leave the euro. But this second option is now all but inevitable, and the sooner it happens the better."

Larry Elliott, the Guardian economics editor, thinks the numbers simply do not add up.

He writes: "No country is prepared to have a pan-European taxman take all their dough, so full political union is not on the agenda. That means there are really only two logical ways forward. Either there needs to be a plan B in which the euro area is pared back to a group that includes Germany, France, Austria, the Netherlands and perhaps a couple of other countries, or there will be an uncontrolled break-up with dire consequences."

Patrick Minford, professor of applied economics at Cardiff University writing in the Scotsman says: "The reason Greece needs to do the same (as Argentina leaving the dollar peg) and leave the euro is that, without a massive devaluation, it will not resume growth for many years. It is in the interests not just of the Greeks but also of its creditors that Greek growth resumes, because then there will be more income to help the Greeks pay off more debt and restore their credit status."

Nouriel Roubini, professor of Economics at the Stern Business School, at New York University, who predicted the financial crisis, is reported on Forbes slating the EU's ‘muddle through' approach.

He writes: "The muddle-through approach to the eurozone crisis has failed to resolve the fundamental problems of economic and competitiveness divergence within the Union.  If this continues the euro will move toward disorderly debt workouts and eventually a break-up of the monetary union itself as some of the weaker members crash out." 

Here MSNBC reports on German FDP MP Frank Schaeffler, a member of the finance committee in the German Parliament, says Berlin should help Greece to exit. "If Greece wants to leave the euro zone, that is its own autonomous decision. And Germany should accompany them constructively," he said in May.

Tim Worstall, a fellow of the Adam Smith Institute, writing his column on Forbes says he has been predicting the euro's demise since before its creation.

He writes: "As I've been saying for years, the euro is bound to fall over, the euro will inevitably fail as a common currency, quite simply because it has been imposed on something which is not anywhere close to being an optimal currency area. You may try to ignore economics but that doesn't mean that economics is going to ignore you."

West Country Tory MP George Eustace, a noted eurosceptic writing for This is Cornwall says: "Longer term, the backward looking political class in Europe will have to face some hard facts: the euro was an idiotic idea which has no long term future and the quicker they work out how to scrap it, with minimum disruption, the better."

UK consultancy the Centre for Business Economics Doug McWilliams went to Athens in May and told the Greeks to leave and how, with his remarks reported in the Times. (paywall at times) 

 "Leaving the euro would mean the new currency will fall by a minimum of 15%. But as the national debt is valued in euros, this would raise the debt from its current level of 120% of GDP to 140% overnight. So part of the package of leaving the euro must be to convert the debt into the new domestic currency unilaterally."

Read more:

Mindful Money's economist Shaun Richards gives his take on the issue here.


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