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Les banques européennes peuvent-elles sauver l’UE ?

NEW YORK – L'amende de plusieurs milliards de dollars récemment imposée par le gouvernement des États-Unis à la banque allemande Deutsche Bank pour avoir vendu de manière trompeuse des titres hypothécaires aux États-Unis n’a pas contribué à améliorer la confiance dans l'Union européenne, qui reste en proie à une croissance économique lente, un chômage élevé, des problèmes liés à l’immigration et toujours plus d’incertitude. Ce que le scandale de la Deutsche Bank a fait, c’est de mettre en évidence une option de dernier recours – une sorte de « passe Ave Maria », pour utiliser un terme de football américain – qui pourrait potentiellement sauver le projet européen.

Alors qu’elle représente environ 20% du PIB mondial, la zone euro n'a aucune banque parmi les 10 plus grandes mondiales ni aucune institution de services financiers dans le classement mondial FT 500. Les dommages collatéraux d'un tel système bancaire fragmenté et vulnérable sont évidents dans la performance relativement faible de l'Europe dans d'autres secteurs, tels que la technologie et l'énergie, qui sont vitaux pour l'avenir économique des membres de l'UE.

L'Europe ne manque pas de banques : l'Allemagne en compte plus de 1500 et l'Italie plus de 600. Mais beaucoup d'entre elles sont ce qu’on appelle des « banques zombies » avec trop de branches, trop peu de dépôts et des coûts de financement qui dépassent de loin ceux des banques internationales les plus performantes.

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