Accepter l'euro pour se sauver

Pour les huit pays, ex-communistes, que l'UE promet d'admettre en son sein en 2004, entrer dans l'Union Monétaire et Économique (EMU) ne se présente pas sans obligation de contrepartie. Contrairement au Royaume-Uni ou au Danemark, les nouveaux membres ne pourront pas rejeter l'euro. Ils ne pourront contrôler que leur date d'entrée dans l'euro, qui, en principe, pourra être fixée au plus tôt deux ans après leur entrée dans l'UE.

Évidemment, l'acceptation du Traité de Maastricht, avec ses contraintes fiscales, monétaires et salariales rigides présente un intérêt plus étendu qu'une simple décision économique. Mais en dernière analyse, la certitude, ou le manque de certitude, que l'entrée dans l'EMU apportera d'importants avantages économiques représente une force capable d'orienter la décision d'adhérer à l'euro au plus tôt.

L'EMU est fondée sur l'idée, défendue par le prix Nobel Robert Mundell, que les coûts et les bénéfices de l'intégration monétaire dépendent de certaines propriétés communes à tous les pays adhérents. Un ensemble de pays caractérisés par une certaine ouverture économique, une intégration des marchés financiers et commerciaux, des structures économiques semblables, la flexibilité des prix et des salaires, la mobilité des travailleurs et d'autres facteurs de production peuvent, selon cette théorie, représenter une zone monétaire optimum (OCA).

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