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Heading For a Breakup? EU Leaders Discuss Possible Greek Exit, Seek Legal Advice

Legally speaking, the EU can limit the movement of people and money.

As the possibility of a Greek exit becomes more likely, leaders in the European Union are seeking legal advice from the European Commission on how to shift money and keep people within borders, the Associated Press reports.

"European finance officials have discussed limiting the size of withdrawals from ATM machines, imposing border checks and introducing euro zone capital controls as a worst-case scenario should Athens decide to leave the euro," Reuters  reports.

E.U. spokesman Olivier Bailly said Tuesday that, legally, the EU can limit the movement of people and money across national borders "if it's necessary to protect public order or public security."

"There is a possibility for member states to restrict movement of capital in specific cases relating to public order and public security," Bailly told reporters.

Yes, you read that right. The EU can legally limit the movement of people and capital if it deems it a "safety issue."

Bailly added that the EU cannot restrict the movement of people or money if it's for "economic reasons." But who gets to define what's a "safety issue" and what's an economic issue? The same people who thought it was a good idea to let Greece into the eurzone?

"Some people are working on scenarios," he said, but refused to confirm or identify which organizations and people were working on them.

Perhaps hoping to calm anxious investors, Bailly insisted that although multiple scenarios are being discussed, the only one that's being taken seriously is one where Greece remains in the 17-nation union.

"The Commission is not working on a Greek exit plan," Bailly said, according to the Wall Street Journal.  "We're working on one plan and one plan only and that's to keep Greece in the euro zone."

The Associated Press contributed to this story. Front page photo source: Global Economic Intersection

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