Un « plan Merkel » pour l’Europe

LONDRES – Depuis l’apparition de la crise économique en Europe il y a plus de quatre ans, politiciens et commentateurs en appellent à une solution de grande envergure, évoquant souvent l’exemple du plan Marshall américain d’après-guerre, qui contribua à partir de 1948 à reconstruire les économies d’Europe occidentale, brisées et criblées de dettes. Jusqu’à présent, le moment politique ne semblait toutefois pas opportun. Or, il se pourrait bien que les choses soient sur le point de changer.

La situation que connaît actuellement l’Europe présente un certain nombre de similitudes avec celle des années 1940. Croulant sous le poids de dettes publiques issues de leurs erreurs passées, les gouvernements de la zone euro ont conscience de ce dont ils ont besoin, mais ne savent pas comment procéder. La méfiance des uns et des autres se révèle trop importante pour permettre une véritable collaboration. Dans le même temps, la demande est faible dans la majeure partie de l’Union européenne, excluant ainsi la croissance économique nécessaire au remboursement des dettes et à la renaissance de l’espoir pour quelque 25 millions de chômeurs.

Les suspicions de clocher constituent le principal obstacle à une solution majeure. Nulle part les contribuables ne souhaitent avoir l’impression de payer pour les excès des autres : la monnaie unique n’impose pas en effet de responsabilité partagée. Ainsi les pays créanciers, en premier lieu desquels l’Allemagne, ne fournissent-ils que le minimum d’efforts nécessaires pour maintenir l’euro en vie, tandis que les États débiteurs se plaignent avec impuissance de l’insistance allemande autour de l’austérité budgétaire.

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