La confusion croissante de l’Europe

PRINCETON – Le ministre allemand des Finances, Wolfgang Schäuble, a récemment déclaré que l'Union européenne a « déplacé la souveraineté au niveau européen » – une revendication surprenante, étant donné que les gouvernements européens semblent poursuivre leurs intérêts nationaux plus agressivement que jamais depuis la Seconde Guerre mondiale. La déclaration de M. Schäuble devait-elle servir de cri de ralliement pour une plus grande solidarité européenne ? Ou était-ce juste un stratagème pour détourner l’attention des appels à une plus grande contribution de l'Allemagne dans la reprise de la zone euro ?

M. Schäuble est en premier plan des efforts de l'Allemagne pour diriger l'Europe sans avoir à en payer les factures. À cette fin, il a appelé à changer les traités de l'UE pour mettre en place un « commissaire au budget » européen autorisé à dépenser des fonds européens communs et à rejeter les stratégies budgétaires des pays membres quand elles ne respectent pas les règles établies. Selon M. Schäuble, les négociations vers de telles réformes devraient commencer immédiatement après l'élection du Parlement européen en mai.

Bien que la stratégie de Schäuble puisse sembler attrayante, elle est, au mieux, symbolique. Tout d’abord, les fonds communs sont maigres, sans aucune perspective d’augmentation – en premier lieu à cause de l'opposition implacable de l'Allemagne. De même, tant que les pays membres conserveront leur souveraineté budgétaire, un nouveau mécanisme pour réprimander les pays qui défient les règles budgétaires européennes ne changera rien. Au cours des deux dernières décennies, tous les efforts pour discipliner les délinquants budgétaires de l'UE ont échoué, en raison de l'absence d'autorité d'exécution.

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