The threat of a break-up of the euro mounted last week when the Dutch prime minister, Mark Rutte, and his finance minister, Jan Kees de Jager, dropped a bombshell by suggesting that countries that persistently break eurozone budget rules should be chucked out of the currency. With the latest Greek bailout deal on a knife-edge, the possibility of Greece leaving the euro has increased dramatically in recent weeks.
Analysts believe the departure of Greece would lead to major problems for the other bailed-out countries, Ireland and Portugal, as markets smell blood. Ireland's massive bank debt is like catnip for sharp-suited hedge-fund bosses and institutional investors looking to "short" our bonds.
This could lead to a domino effect, with the weaker countries being forced out the door. Spain, Italy and France would also come under enormous pressure from speculators.