Menaces sur l'euro

La création de l'union monétaire européenne est un exploit économique et politique sans précédent. Elle promet des marchés élargis, ses effets stimulants sur le commerce et les investissements sont déjà patents. Mais l'euro va-t-il durer ?

La réponse dépendra de deux facteurs: le premier est l'issue des batailles en cours, en France, en Allemagne et ailleurs, autour de la réforme de la sécurité sociale; le second est le débat sur l'inclusion dans le projet de constitution européenne de "droits sociaux".

1. Les budgets sociaux sont aujourd'hui très différents d'un pays européen à l'autre, et ces différences laissent augurer d'intenses conflits au sein de l'union monétaire. Les gouvernements français, allemand et italien, par exemple, sont confrontés à trois options: réduire le niveau des prestations sociales, accroître la fiscalité ou emprunter. Mais dans le contexte de plus en plus compétitif de la zone euro, accroître la fiscalité aurait un effet dissuasif sur les entreprises. Quant à diminuer les prestations sociales, cela comporte un risque politique certain. La tentation de recourir à l'emprunt est donc forte.

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