En finir avec le paternalisme européen

La présidence italienne de l'Union européenne porte une énorme responsabilité, celle de revigorer l'élargissement comme aspect essentiel de la nouvelle UE. Le meilleur endroit pour commencer serait d'inciter à une meilleure attitude envers l'adoption de l'euro pour les pays accédant à l'Union. En fait, la position paternaliste des institutions de l'UE envers les pays accédants menace de créer une Europe à deux vitesses qui compliquera les processus d'intégration.

Les pays accédants ont tenu leur part du marché en réalisant l'intégration commerciale avec les pays de l'Union parfois plus poussée que dans de nombreux pays membres. Trois d'entre eux --l'Estonie, la Lettonie et la Lituanie-- possèdent un système de caisse d'émission ou un taux de change fixe avec l'euro, tout comme la Bulgarie, qui doit rejoindre l'Union en 2007. Les autres ont manifesté depuis plusieurs années leur intérêt pour adopter l'euro dès le début, de manière unilatérale dans certains cas, avant même leur entrée dans l'Union -- une position ouvertement défendue par la Banque nationale de Pologne, et à un moindre degré par la Banque nationale de Hongrie et la Banque nationale de la République Tchèque.

Pourtant, malgré leur progrès pour amener leur taux d'inflation et leurs taux d'intérêt au plus près des niveaux européens, bon nombre de pays candidats craignent, avec l'ouverture totale aux mouvements de capitaux, prérequis pour l'accession à l'Union, de s'exposer au risque d'arrêts brutaux de mouvements de capitaux et à des crises cambiaires. Ils ont compris les leçons de l'Amérique latine et de l'Asie dans les années 1990. L'adoption de l'euro leur permettrait très facilement d'échapper à de tels risques et de centrer leurs efforts sur la création d'une croissance réelle pour leurs économies.

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