Tim Brinton

L'Europe et les dettes souveraines

PRINCETON – Les crises sont l'occasion d'apprendre. A l'exception de la Grande Dépression, les principales crises financières des 200 dernières années ont éclaté dans des pays pauvres et instables en manque de réformes politiques d'envergure. Par contre la crise actuelle a débuté dans des pays riches, non seulement en raison des prêts immobiliers à risque aux USA, mais aussi à cause des erreurs de gestion des banques et de la dette publique en Europe. Quelles leçons l'Europe, mais aussi le reste du monde, vont-ils en tirer ?

Les problèmes actuels de l'Europe offrent un parallèle frappant avec ceux qui se sont posés antérieurement à la périphérie des pays développés. En vagues successives après des crises douloureuses, les pays d'Amérique latine dans les années 1980 et ceux d'Asie de l'Est après 1997 ont appris à améliorer leur politique économique et à développer un cadre durable pour gérer la dette du secteur public. Aujourd'hui c'est au tour de l'Europe.

La crise européenne accomplit un cycle complet. Après avoir éclaté, la crise financière s'est métamorphosée en une crise classique de la dette publique après l'intervention de Etats pour garantir les engagements des banques. Cette intervention a ensuite elle-même posé des problèmes supplémentaires aux banques surexposées à une dette publique supposée sans risque. Mais les dettes souveraines peuvent désormais déclencher une crise.

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