May 16, 2012
Europe’s financial crisis lurched into a perilous new phase as dire predictions emerged of a collapse in Greece’s economy, with a run on its banks bringing an inevitable end to its membership of the euro.
As leaders in Athens accepted the need for a new general election to end a national stalemate, the International Monetary Fund said Europe’s leaders should prepare for the possibility of a Greek departure from the single currency.
Christine Lagarde, head of the IMF, warned she was “technically prepared for anything” and said the utmost effort must be made to ensure any Greek exit was orderly. The effect was likely to be “quite messy” with risks to growth, trade and financial markets. “It is something that would be extremely expensive and would pose great risks but it is part of options that we must technically consider,” she said.