La maison de l’euro divisée

BRUXELLES – Les dernières perspectives annoncées par la Commission Européenne présentent une image démoralisante: une taux de chômage égal ou supérieur à 5% en Autriche, en Allemagne et aux Pays-Bas en 2014, mais supérieur à 25% en Grèce et en Espagne, et aux alentours de 15% en Irlande et au Portugal. Le PIB par habitant devrait cette même année dépasser de 7% son niveau d’avant la crise en Allemagne, mais sera inférieur de 7% en Irlande, au Portugal, et en Espagne – et devrait même atteindre un terrifiant moins 24% en Grèce. Le profond fossé économique et social apparu dans la zone euro devrait donc perdurer.

Un tel gouffre au sein d’une union monétaire ne peut être maintenu bien longtemps. Comme l’avait déclaré Abraham Lincoln, « une maison divisée contre elle-même ne peut tenir debout. » Il est impossible qu’une même politique monétaire puisse répondre à la fois aux besoins d’un pays en récession et d’un autre plus proche du ou en plein emploi. En effet, la seule question importante pour l’avenir de la zone euro est de savoir si ce fossé entre les membres prospères et ceux en difficulté se résorbe ou non.

Une lecture optimiste est qu’en dépit de l’absence de signes d’amélioration dans le marché du travail, la performance économique est en fait en amélioration, et un processus d’ajustement est en cours. La preuve, souvent rappelée, est que les déficits extérieurs ont substantiellement diminué.

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