Around midday today some Euro-lackey in Brussels came up with the ridiculous notion that if Greece decided to leave the euro, it would also have to quit the European Union, according to the terms of the EU's treaties.
The lame-brained thinking of European Commission spokeswoman Karolina Kottova ran as follows "The treaties indeed confirm what we have been saying here: the treaty doesn't foresee an exit from the euro zone without exiting the EU". The comment was in response to a question about the provisions the EU treaties make for a country to leave the euro.
"We see Greece within the euro and the necessary instruments are in place and an agreement has been reached," Kottova told the Commission's daily news briefing. "So, as far as we are concerned, this is the only option that is on the table." The EU treaty does not specifically foresee the possibility of a country leaving the single currency area, which now comprises 17 countries, although it does provide for the possibility of a country leaving the 27-nation European Union. In article 50, the treaty says: "Any member state may decide to withdraw from the union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements."
Which is just a load of balls. The EU treaty doesn't foresee a lot of things, but it doesn't stop any country doing anything not foreseen by the treaty. I may cut the lawn this weekend, or then again I may not. It isn't covered by any EU treaty, but that oversight doesn't stop me from doing so, or not as I decide.
A paper floating round Brussels a few years ago cam to the view that if a country left the EU, it would have to leave the eurozone, which overlooks the fact that the Vatican City, San Marino and Monaco all use the euro as their currency despite not being members of the EU.
But that isn't really the issue. Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Sweden, and the United Kingdom are all members of the EU and the last time I looked, none of them use the euro as their national currency - I could be wrong, but I can't be bothered to check just to refute the absurd proposition of some overpaid Euro-nebbish. There is nothing stopping Greece reverting to their own currency and remaining in the EU. Sure enough there are some issues, such as getting their capital contribution back from the ECB, but there is nothing under EU rules that would require them to leave the EU ... but don't expect anything other than self-centred power grabs from the unaccountable denizens of the Berlaymont.