N'oublions pas l'héritage de Wim Duisenberg

L'élément le plus surprenant et le plus polémique concernant l'augmentation de ses taux par la Banque centrale européenne en décembre dernier est que, après avoir maintenu les taux d'intérêt à un niveau exceptionnellement bas pendant deux ans et demi, la banque ne s'est risquée qu'à une augmentation de 25 points de base, sans promettre d'en instituer d'autres à l'avenir. La pression politique que subit la banque centrale européenne explique peut-être la modestie de cette mesure.

Jean-Claude Trichet, actuel président de la BCE, occupe le même poste mais évolue dans un environnement différent de celui de son prédécesseur, auteur de la célèbre remarque “j'entends les politiciens, mais je ne les écoute pas.” La pression politique exercée aujourd'hui sur la BCE est bien supérieure à celle du temps de Duisenberg. L'environnement politique est bien plus hostile. Certaines de ces pressions ont pu filtrer et affecter les politiques de la BCE.

C'est une évolution extrêmement négative, et c'est aussi l'un des plus grands défis de la Banque centrale pour 2006. Non seulement les politiciens exerceront une influence tendant vers l'excédent monétaire, ce qui naturellement est déjà assez grave pour une banque dont la première mission est d'assurer la stabilité des prix, mais en outre un tel excédent constituera une sérieuse barrière à la réforme structurelle, élément essentiel à la prospérité européenne dans une économie mondiale concurrentielle.

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