Prévenir la prochaine crise bancaire en Europe

Alors que les ondes de chocs du désastre des subprimes continuent à se propager, les doutes quant à la capacité de l’Europe à faire face à une crise financière majeure se multiplient. De graves défaillances de la réglementation bancaire – en Allemagne, en Grande-Bretagne et peut-être en France – ont sapé la crédibilité des systèmes de surveillance nationaux. Mais ce n’est qu’une partie du problème. L’Union européenne reste désespérément mal équipée pour faire face à des crises qui n’ont pas encore eu lieu : des crises transnationales déclenchées par l’interdépendance croissante des banques de l’UE.

L’intégration financière de l’UE a véritablement commencé dans les années 1980, quand la Commission européenne et le Conseil européen ont décidé de faire progresser rapidement la réforme du secteur financier. Les points tournants ont notamment été les décisions prises entre 1986 et 1988 de supprimer toutes les barrières aux flux de capitaux transfrontaliers, et le lancement en 1999 d’un plan d’action législatif sur les services financiers. Ensuite vint l’introduction de l’euro, qui prit rapidement la place de deuxième devise mondiale, derrière le dollar.

Moins évidente peut-être, la décision prise par l’UE d’adopter les normes de comptabilité internationale IFRS (International Financial Reporting Standards) en 2002 a donné une impulsion sans précédent à l’harmonisation mondiale des règles comptables. La défense sans faille du principe de concurrence dans le secteur bancaire par la Commission européenne – au Portugal, en Allemagne, en Italie et en Pologne en particulier – a mis fin à une époque de protectionnisme sous couvert de contrôle prudentiel, ce qui a encouragé l’intégration financière transfrontalière à un niveau inégalé dans les économies développées.

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