Berlusconi sur la sellette

Silvio Berlusconi a été élu premier ministre de l'Italie après avoir fait campagne sur la revitalisation de l'économie par le biais de réductions d'impôts et de la libéralisation. Trois ans après le début de son mandat, il n'a pas rempli son programme économique et son gouvernement est sens dessus dessous. Que s'est-il passé ?

Les maux économiques de l'Italie sont bien connus. Au risque de simplifier à l'excès, ces maux peuvent être regroupés en trois catégories :

· Des finances publiques faibles . Lorsque l'Italie a rejoint l'Union monétaire européenne, son principal excédent budgétaire (recettes fiscales excédant les dépenses gouvernementales, à l'exclusion des versements des intérêts) avoisinait 5 % du revenu national. En 2004, cet excédent chutera jusqu'à 1,5 % environ, avant les réductions d'impôts promises par Berlusconi pour l'année suivante. Les dépenses excessives en matière d'aide sociale (essentiellement pour les pensions de l'Etat) et le coût d'assurance du service de la dette publique empêchent des dépenses gouvernementales plus productives et imposent une lourde charge fiscale. Le gouvernement n'est pas parvenu à prendre des actions significatives et le problème s'aggrave. Bien évidemment, l'agence de notation Standard & Poor's a récemment dévalorisé la dette publique italienne.

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