Seems to be a lot in the news recently (Google Business news UK) discussing that the euro currency may not survive. They suggested it has a 1/5 chance of surviving the next decade.

What would actually happen if it did collapse, would each country go back to using its old currency? Maybe its a good idea I didn't throw away those 20 German Marks I found in a recent clearout.

  • 3
    I'm afraid we can't predict the future here.
    – C. Ross
    Dec 31, 2010 at 13:21
  • Related: money.stackexchange.com/questions/4520/… Dec 31, 2010 at 14:22
  • your old DMs probably would be useless, but besides that - who knows...
    – StasM
    Dec 31, 2010 at 21:39
  • 6
    UK will have the heartiest laugh of all
    – DumbCoder
    Jan 1, 2011 at 20:19
  • Which explains british Media's bias.
    – j riv
    Jan 7, 2011 at 13:04

6 Answers 6


Each country would have to go back to its own currency, or the rich countries would just kick the poor ones out of the EU. It would be bad for the poor countries, and the global economy would suffer, but it really wouldn't be a big deal.


These rumors are here just to help dollar stay alive. Euro have problems, but they are rather solvable, unlike dollar situation.

Even if something wrong would happen - countries would return to their national currencies, mainly Germany & France are important here. This does not means that EuroUnion would be destroyed - some countries live in EU without Euro and they are just fine.


If the Euro went bust then it would be the 12th government currency to go belly up in Europe (according to this website). Europe holds the record for most failed currencies. It also holds the record for the worst hyperinflation in history - Yugoslavia 1993.

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I'm not sure what would happen if the Euro failed. It depends on how it fails. If it fails quickly (which most do) then there will be bank runs, bank holidays, capital controls, massive price increases, price controls, and just general confusion as people race to get rid of their Euros. Black markets for everything will pop up if the price controls remain in place. Some countries may switch to a foreign currency (i.e. the US dollar if it is still around) until they can get their own currency in circulation.

  • 1
    This is sensationalist nonsense since Europe also lists a large part of World History. Also, I don't know what else is ridiculously incorrect, but you list Greece in 1941-1943. This was not Greece. This was Nazi occupation of Greece with a Forced Loan [which literary robbed the country of all its Gold Reserves] that devastated the Economy with Hyper-Inflation.
    – j riv
    Jan 9, 2011 at 19:43
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    @Lela - I didn't come up with the list. I provided a link to the source of my information in my answer. Here is the wikipedia list of failed currencies (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyperinflation). I disagree - Europe is not a large part of World History. Europe is a large part of World History using fiat currencies.
    – Muro
    Jan 9, 2011 at 19:59
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    I didn't say you came up with the list. I said it's non-sensical in this discussion. If Greece was Occupied by Nazi Germany and was forced to give all its gold to Hitler and had super hyper-inflation due to that it's not just a failed currency, it's World War II.
    – j riv
    Jan 11, 2011 at 19:16

I'd have anything you would need for maybe 3-6 months stored up: food, fuel, toiletries, other incidentals. What might replace the currency after the Euro collapses will be the least of your concerns when it does collapse.

  • 3
    Massive exaggeration. Or have you got stocks of food that you bought to survive the Y2K crisis and haven't used that you are looking to sell? Jan 7, 2011 at 18:43
  • @DJClayworth: A word to the wise is sufficient.
    – mbhunter
    Jan 8, 2011 at 7:03
  • @DJClayworth: still sure it's a massive exaggeration? When Argentina defaulted ATMs STOPPED spitting out money! If a collapse of the EURO happens would be caused by a default of the PIIGS, but even banks in triple A countries might run into banckrupcy because they are packed with sovereign bunds of PIIGS. Sep 6, 2011 at 11:27

Krugman (Nobel prize in Economy) has just said:

  1. Greek euro exit, very possibly next month.

  2. Huge withdrawals from Spanish and Italian banks, as depositors try to move their money to Germany.

3a. Maybe, just possibly, de facto controls, with banks forbidden to transfer deposits out of country and limits on cash withdrawals.

3b. Alternatively, or maybe in tandem, huge draws on ECB credit to keep the banks from collapsing.

4a. Germany has a choice. Accept huge indirect public claims on Italy and Spain, plus a drastic revision of strategy — basically, to give Spain in particular any hope you need both guarantees on its debt to hold borrowing costs down and a higher eurozone inflation target to make relative price adjustment possible; or:

4b. End of the euro.

And we’re talking about months, not years, for this to play out.


  • 2
    We're 4 years since this post and what you quotes above didn't happen.
    – brt
    Nov 19, 2016 at 0:35
  • @brt: tell it to Krugman. He is the one with Nobel prize in Economy! :) Nov 22, 2016 at 12:25

The result would be catastrophic. The almost-reserve currency would collapse which would produce a medium sized depression, perhaps same with with 2008-now, or even larger, since don't forget, that one was produced from a housing bubble existing in only a part of the american economy; imagine what would happen if almost the full size of the economy (Europe) would collapse, even if Europe isn't as much "connected".

But reality here is, there's no chance to that. The real reason you hear those rumors is that America (along with minor partners like the British Sterling) want to bring down the Euro for medium-term benefit. e.g. Several economists get on Bloomberg announcing they are short selling the Euro.

Irony is, all this is helping the Euro since selling and short-selling and selling and short-selling helps massively its liquidity. It's like several nay sayers actually making a politician famous with their spite.


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