The European project has had to overcome many difficulties in the past, but the challenges it will face in the next two or three years are going to be momentous. Not only the eurozone but the European Union itself is in danger.
Even in a worst case scenario, some areas of intra-European co-operation will surely survive. But it is hard to see how the EU as we know it today could survive even a partial disintegration of the eurozone. The sense of failure, the loss of trust and the damage that would be done to so many if two or three countries had to leave the eurozone would be of a magnitude to shake the entire Union.
Nobody can foresee exactly what the dynamics would be, or how finance and trade could cope, and more important still what the political fall-out would be. Those who argue that one or more countries in the periphery should take a “holiday” from the euro underestimate both the economic and political repercussions this could have.