European Union flags on a terrace.

La désintégration de l'Europe

LONDRES – S'il fallait un signal clair pour dire que l'Union européenne se désagrège à un rythme alarmant, c'est bien la construction par la Hongrie de clôtures de barbelés à lames le long de la frontière avec la Croatie, membre de l'UE. La crise de la zone euro a indubitablement fragmenté des flux financiers, poussé des économies à diverger, érodé le soutien politique aux institutions de l'UE et dressé les Européens les uns contre les autres. À présent, à l'heure où les gouvernements érigent des barrières et rétablissent les contrôles aux frontières, la crise des réfugiés perturbe les flux de personnes et bloque leur commerce. Et à mesure que l'UE se délite, le risque grandit que la Grande-Bretagne ne vote sa sortie.

On prétend souvent que l'UE progresse par crises, qui concentrent les esprits sur le besoin impérieux d'une intégration plus poussée. Mais de telles avancées nécessitent au moins quatre ingrédients : une bonne compréhension commune du problème, un accord sur un moyen efficace de progresser, une volonté de regrouper davantage de souveraineté et des dirigeants politiques capables de conduire ces progrès. Tous les quatre font actuellement défaut.

Les dirigeants européens sont faibles, divisés et apparemment incapables d'énoncer une vision crédible des avantages futurs que l'intégration européenne peut fournir, sans laquelle ils ne peuvent rallier le soutien populaire ni convaincre les gouvernements récalcitrants de supporter une part équitable des coûts actuels. En l'absence d'une réponse efficace commune, les crises de l'Europe s'enveniment, se nourrissent l'une l'autre et fomentent l'unilatéralisme.

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