Le pari très risqué de l'Europe

CAMBRIDGE – Le gouvernement grec doit se sortir d'une situation en apparence inextricable. Sa dette a atteint un niveau insoutenable (150 % du PIB, en hausse cette année de dix points de pourcentage), son économie est en chute libre (avec une baisse du PIB de plus de 7 % cette année, relevant le taux de chômage à 16 %), son déficit chronique de la balance des paiements (actuellement à 8 % du PIB) et ses banques insolvables voient leurs dépôts fondre à vue d’oil.

La seule issue possible pour la Grèce est d'entrer en défaut de paiement sur sa dette souveraine. Lorsqu'elle le fera, elle devra aussi défalquer d'au moins 50 % la valeur du principal de cette dette. Le plan actuel de réduction de 20 % de la valeur présente des obligations détenues par le privé n'est qu'un des premiers pas vers ce résultat.

Si jamais la Grèce sort de l'euro après être entrée en défaut, elle pourra alors relancer son ancienne monnaie sur une base dévaluée, stimulant de la sorte la demande et menant éventuellement à un excédent commercial. D'autres pays ont déjà suivi une telle stratégie « de défaut et de dévaluation » lorsqu'ils ont eu à faire face à une dette souveraine importante impossible à gérer et un déficit chronique du compte courant. La Grèce n'a pu le faire jusqu’ici, car elle est prisonnière d'une monnaie commune avec ses partenaires commerciaux.

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