Décider d'une fin anticipée de l'euro ?

NEW-YORK – On ne sait pas encore si l'euro va survivre. Et si on ne faisait que retarder sa fin sans pouvoir l'éviter ? Dans ce cas, retarder l'inévitable rendrait la disparition de l'euro encore plus destructrice.

L'ajustement destiné à restaurer la croissance et la compétitivité et mettre fin au surendettement à la périphérie de la zone euro pourrait se faire grâce à la restructuration de la dette et à la sortie de la zone euro - ce qui conduirait à la réintroduction de devises nationales fortement dépréciées. Mais  cet ajustement coûtera probablement des milliers de milliards s'il passe par l'austérité et des dévaluations internes - ce que l'Allemagne reconnaît de plus en plus aujourd'hui. Il faudra un financement public pour permettre aux investisseurs étrangers et nationaux de se désengager sans trop de dégâts. Les investisseurs réduisant leur exposition aux risques liés aux Etats, aux banques et aux entreprises de la périphérie de la zone euro, il faudra financer à la fois les déséquilibres des stocks et ceux des flux. L'ajustement prendra des années, et en attendant le retour de la confiance, la fuite des capitaux va se prolonger, nécessitant un financement public massif.

Il y a encore peu de temps, ce sont les institutions financières qui avaient la responsabilité de ce financement (le Fonds européen de stabilité financière et bientôt le mécanisme européen de stabilité) et le FMI. Mais de plus en plus il dépend de la Banque centrale européenne (BCE) - d'abord par l'achat d'obligations et ensuite par l'apport de liquidités en faveur des banques pour restaurer les équilibres au sein du système de payement Target2 de la zone euro. Compte tenu des contraintes politiques qui pèsent en Allemagne et ailleurs et qui s'opposent au renforcement des pare-feux budgétaires, la BCE envisage maintenant une nouvelle opération de financement à grande échelle de l'Espagne et de l'Italie (avec encore davantage d'achats d'obligations).

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