Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 11/2011

After €urogeddon? Frequently asked questions about the break-up of the euro zone

November 2011

Economist Intelligence Unit


There are too many unknowns to make confident predictions about the trajectory of the crisis or the extent and speed of any break-up, should efforts to save the single currency fail. The following FAQ represents an exploration of alternative scenarios that diverge from our central forecast. We attach a 60% probability to this central “muddle through” scenario, not least because the catastrophic consequences of a break-up provide a strong incentive for policymakers to do whatever is necessary to save the euro. In contrast, we think there is a 35% chance of a break-up of the euro zone, in which the most likely scenario would be the exit from monetary union of the smaller so-called “periphery” economies, as well as both Italy and Spain. We assign a 5% probability to Greece leaving the euro zone on its own, without triggering other departures.