Chris Van Es

Des cocos pour l'Europe

BERKELEY - Après un an et demi de retard et de déni, la Grèce est en train de restructurer ses dettes. Ceci ne suffira pas en soi à tirer un trait sur la crise de la zone euro. La Grèce devra également réduire la taille de son secteur public, réformer son administration fiscale et prendre d'autres mesures pour moderniser son économie. Ses partenaires européens devront construire un pare-feu autour de l'Espagne et de l'Italie pour empêcher leurs marchés des capitaux et leurs économies d'être déstabilisés. Les banques qui encourent des pénalités sur leurs bilans devront être recapitalisées. Il faudra réparer les failles dans la gouvernance de la zone euro.

Cependant, la première étape indispensable est une profonde dévaluation de la dette grecque – en-deçà de la moitié de sa valeur nominale. Le fardeau pour le contribuable grec sera allégé, ce qui est une condition préalable à la réduction des salaires, pensions et autres coûts et ceci est donc essentiel à la stratégie de « dévaluation interne » nécessaire pour restaurer la compétitivité grecque. Forcer les obligataires à accepter une « marge de sécurité » sur ce qu'ils vont percevoir, promet également de décourager à l'avenir les prêts imprudents aux souverains de la zone euro.

Ce qui nous amène à la question de savoir pourquoi il a fallu un an et demi aux décideurs politiques pour en arriver à ce point.  La réponse est qu'il y a de fortes incitations à retarder. Le gouvernement grec, pour lequel la restructuration est un aveu d'échec, continue d'espérer que de bonnes nouvelles vont surgir comme par magie. De même, les banques françaises détenant des obligations grecques s'accrochent au moindre reste d'optimisme possible pour faire furieusement pression contre la restructuration. Les décideurs européens, quant à eux, craignent que la restructuration de la dette souveraine ne risque d’endommager le système financier et ne soit un mauvais point pour leur union monétaire.

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