Europe : Les petits pas et le grand bond

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On attendait les euro-obligations. Ce sera la gouvernance économique. Le grand bond en avant, ont dit Angela Merkel et Nicolas Sarkozy, sera peut-être l’aboutissement, mais l’heure est aux petits pas. La question, évidemment, est de savoir à quoi ceux-ci peuvent servir.

Pour y répondre, un retour en arrière s’impose. Jusqu’au la fin du printemps, la crise sur les marchés de la dette publique était limitée à trois petits pays, la Grèce, l’Irlande et le Portugal. L’Espagne avait réussi à limiter l’écart entre ses conditions d’emprunt et celle de l’Allemagne (les fameux spreads) à deux points de taux d’intérêt environ. Mais à la mi-juillet, le coût des emprunts espagnols et italiens approchait quatre points et les conditions d’emprunt de la France se détérioraient rapidement. Le spectre d’une crise d’ensemble commençait de hanter les marchés. Or la zone euro n’était pas équipée pour y faire face. Le Fonds de stabilité créé en 2010 avait une capacité de prêt d’un peu plus de 300 milliards, largement suffisante pour les pays périphériques mais trop petite pour aider ne serait-ce que l’Espagne. La catastrophe menaçait.

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