Italy and Germany Simon Granati/Getty Images

Un Brexit dénué de tout avantage pour l’UE

MILAN – Jusqu’à très récemment, les Européens prêtaient peu attention au référendum britannique sur le maintien ou non du Royaume-Uni dans l’Union européenne. Maintenant que la possibilité d’un « Brexit » se fait palpable, ils s’inquiètent de plus en plus de ce qu’un tel événement pourrait impliquer. Mais plutôt que de réfléchir rationnellement aux risques potentiels, beaucoup de ces Européens se comportent comme s’ils étaient membres d’une grande famille sur le point de perdre un riche parent, dont ils semblent en pensées se répartir l’héritage avant même que ne soit lu le testament du principal intéressé.

C’est clairement le cas de l’Italie, où beaucoup voient dans le Brexit une aubaine, à l’heure où le Premier ministre Matteo Renzi, profondément favorable à l’UE, œuvre en première ligne pour une Europe plus intégrée, au cœur de laquelle se démarquerait une péninsule Apennine prospère. Or, de tels espoirs reviennent à surestimer considérablement les avantages potentiels du Brexit pour le reste de l’UE, et à en sous-estimer gravement les risques.

Pour commencer, la hausse du coût des échanges commerciaux avec le Royaume-Uni, importateur non négligeable de produits italiens, viendrait affecter les exportateurs d’Italie, à l’heure où le pays s’efforce encore de s’extraire de sa plus grave récession depuis la Seconde Guerre mondiale. L’espoir populaire selon lequel ni le Royaume-Uni, ni l’UE ne s’imposeront mutuellement de restrictions sur les échanges commerciaux apparaît tout au plus peu convaincant, compte tenu de ces tendances protectionnistes qui alimentent l’euroscepticisme britannique, ainsi que de la possibilité de voir les dirigeants politiques européens chercher à dissuader d’autres États membres de suivre l’exemple du Royaume-Uni.

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