Non à l'europessimisme économique !

En Europe, le pessimisme quant à la situation économique est tel que même lorsqu'elle s'améliore comme c'est le cas aujourd'hui, le continent s'attend au pire pour demain. L'année a été excellente en terme de croissance, mais les experts européens ne croient pas que l'élan de 2006 va se poursuivre et se renforcer en 2007, au contraire, ils prédisent avec gravité un ralentissement. A leurs yeux, il paraît hors de question que l'Europe connaisse deux bonnes années successives.

Il est vrai que chaque nouvelle année représente un défi en matière économique, et 2007 ne constitue pas une exception. Les craintes exprimées par les pessimistes s'expliquent notamment par la hausse des taux d'intérêt en Europe, le ralentissement de l'économie américaine et l'augmentation du taux de TVA de 16 à 19% en Allemagne, prévu pour le début de l'année prochaine. Mais ces craintes sont infondées.

L'appréhension des conséquences sur la croissance de la hausse des taux d'intérêt de la Banque centrale européenne (BCE) tient à la confusion entre taux d'intérêt réels et nominaux. En 2006, les taux d'intérêt européens auront augmenté de 150 points de base (passant de 2% en janvier à 3,5% en fin d'année). Mais c'est à peu près le taux d'inflation en Europe, ce qui signifie que les taux d'intérêt réels – autrement dit les taux mesurés en termes de biens et de service – n'ont pas bougé. Or ce sont ces taux et non les taux monétaires qui comptent pour la croissance économique.

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