Peut-on réformer le Pacte de stabilité ?

La Commission européenne a récemment proposé d’importants changements dans l’implémentation du Pacte de stabilité et de croissance (PSC). La Commission et le groupe Ecofin (le comité des ministres des finances des pays de la zone euro) examinent actuellement ces propositions et celles avancées par les États membres. Une décision sera prise au premier semestre 2005, même si les révisions apportées au Pacte restent très incertaines.

Le besoin de réforme va de soi : les facteurs structurels représentent 75 à 80 % de la totalité des déficits des budgets dans les pays de la zone euro ces dernières années, le plafond des 3 % du PIB du Pacte pour les déficits budgétaires nationaux fut dépassé de manière répétée depuis 2002. Les petits États membres, notamment la Finlande et l’Irlande, ainsi que l’Espagne, et les deux pays n’appartenant pas à la zone euro, le Danemark et la Suède, s’en sont tenus au principe de l’équilibre budgétaire ou ont réalisé des surplus, en régression cependant. Néanmoins, les membres les plus grands de l’Union européenne, dont le Royaume-Uni, la France et l’Allemagne, n’ont pas pu ou n’ont pas voulu respecter la règle du jeu.

En effet, la France et l’Allemagne ont évité de justesse des sanctions économiques en novembre 2003 pour n’avoir pas respecté le Pacte. Bien que la Cour européenne de justice ait par la suite invalidé cette décision, l’incapacité de rendre une décision est un état de fait. Ainsi, il faut faire évoluer l’économie budgétaire ou les règles du Pacte.

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