House of Commons UK Parliament via Flikr

L’Europe en vaut-elle la peine ?

PARIS – Lorsque le Royaume-Uni a rejoint ce qu’on appelait encore la Communauté économique européenne, en 1973, il était à l’arrière-garde de l’intégration européenne. La question soulevée par le référendum de juin prochain sur le maintien dans l’Union est désormais celle-ci : les Britanniques formeront-ils l’avant-garde de sa désintégration ?

Le problème n’est pas tant celui l’accord assez insignifiant récemment conclu par le Premier ministre David Cameron avec ses collègues de l’UE. Il est en effet difficile de croire que c’est le jugement des Britanniques sur cet accord qui déterminera le choix fatidique de juin. La vraie question est de savoir si l’appartenance à l’UE présente encore suffisamment d’avantages pour compenser la perte de souveraineté qu’elle entraîne.

Le débat va bien au-delà du cas britannique. Beaucoup, dans l’Union, ont pourtant du mal à répondre à la question, car ce qui touche à l’Europe conserve une forte charge émotionnelle. Il n’y a qu’en Grande Bretagne qu’un ministre issu du même parti que celui qui fit entrer le pays dans l’UE peut appeler à en sortir. Aucun dirigeant des partis de gouvernement, en Allemagne, en France ou en Espagne, n’oserait mettre ouvertement le sujet sur la table, encore moins plaider pour le divorce.

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