Une issue pour l'Europe

CAMBRIDGE – Il semblerait que l'austérité soit passée de mode dans la zone euro, du moins pour le moment. La Commission européenne a accordé un délai supplémentaire à l'Espagne, à la France et aux Pays-Bas pour se conformer au plafond de déficit à 3% du PIB fixé par l'Union européenne. Même les hauts fonctionnaires allemands reconnaissent maintenant que quelque chose de plus que le resserrement budgétaire est nécessaire pour relancer les économies de la périphérie de la zone euro.

Selon la Commission, ce « quelque chose de plus » est une réforme structurelle : l'assouplissement des restrictions sur les licenciements et sur d'autres réglementations des marchés du travail, la libéralisation des professions protégées et la suppression des contrôles sur les marchés des biens et services.

Mais il s'agit en définitive d'une ancienne recette sous une présentation différente. Dès le début de la crise de la zone euro, la « troïka » (la Commission, le Fonds Monétaire International et la Banque Centrale Européenne) a insisté sur les réformes structurelles dans le cadre de tout programme d'aide financière. Au cours de ce processus, la Grèce, l'Espagne et les autres ont été informés de la nécessité de réformes pour stimuler la productivité et la compétitivité et pour aider à rétablir la croissance.

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