Gordon Brown et l'Europe

Les problèmes de Tony Blair ne se limitent pas au scepticisme très largement affiché par son opinion publique au sujet de la guerre en Irak. Son gouvernement bénéficie depuis 1997 de la bonne santé de l'économie britannique, mais elle présente aujourd'hui des faiblesses.

Jusqu'à présent, c'était plutôt les finances publiques de l'Allemagne, de la France et du Portugal qui soulevaient l'inquiétude en Europe. La Grande-Bretagne passait pour un parangon de sagesse fiscale. Le prochain budget préparé actuellement par Gordon Brown, le chancelier de l'Echiquier, risque de ne pas respecter les limites de déficit budgétaire prévues par le traité de Maastricht. Et Brown risque même de devoir admettre avant les prochaines élections britanniques qu'il faudra augmenter les impôts pour que ses propres règles fiscales soient respectées.

En novembre dernier, il prévoyait que le déficit budgétaire britannique s'élèverait à 24 milliards de livres en 2003-2004, avant de descendre à 19 milliards en 2004-2005, bien en dessous du plafond de 3% du PIB prévu par le traité de Maastricht. Mais les analystes financiers prévoient en moyenne un déficit de 27 milliards de livres pour l'année prochaine et selon certains observateurs il devrait dépasser 30 milliards de livres en 2004-2005, une valeur proche du plafond prévu par le traité de Maastricht.

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