Austérité budgétaire contre société européenne

WASHINGTON, DC – Depuis cinq ans, la zone euro a, sans consentement populaire explicite, maintenu une politique stricte concentrée sur l’austérité budgétaire et les réformes structurelles – en dépit de sérieuses répercussions sociales non seulement dans la périphérie méditerranéenne et en Irlande mais aussi au « cœur » de l’Union Européenne, comme en France. À moins que les dirigeants de la zone euro ne repensent leur approche, le succès du parti Syriza aux dernières élections en Grèce pourrait constituer un pas supplémentaire vers la fragmentation sociale et l’instabilité politique en Europe. Mais cela pourrait aussi marquer les prémices d’une réorientation réaliste et bénéfique de la stratégie économique européenne.

Bien sûr, la viabilité budgétaire est vitale pour éviter un refinancement de la dette, potentiellement perturbateur, et inspirer confiance aux investisseurs et aux consommateurs. Mais on ne peut nier qu’il est beaucoup plus facile de soutenir l’austérité budgétaire lorsque l’on est suffisamment riche pour ne pas dépendre des services publics ou craindre de se retrouver dans un chômage durable. (Les riches préservent aussi très largement le contrôle des médias, du discours public et des flux de capitaux transfrontaliers.)

Pour les millions de travailleurs – et surtout les jeunes – qui n’ont aucune perspective d’emploi, la viabilité budgétaire ne peut tout simplement pas être la seule priorité. Lorsque les allocations chômage sont amputées, ce sont eux qui souffrent. Et lorsque les coupes budgétaires touchent l’éducation, ce sont leurs enfants qui se retrouvent pénalisés dans l’acquisition des compétences dont ils ont besoin pour atteindre leur futur potentiel.

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