De quelle taille est l’issue de secours ?

BRUXELLES – La zone euro est aujourd’hui soumise à de fortes turbulences liées à une ruée collective des investisseurs vers la sortie. Les taux de rendement des emprunts d’État des pays en périphérie de la zone euro se sont envolés parce que les investisseurs ne savent pas à quels risques ils sont exposés.

Les autorités se veulent rassurantes. Les investisseurs ne devraient pas s’inquiéter, disent-elles, parce que le mécanisme de sauvetage actuel – la Facilité européenne de stabilité financière (FESF) – a pour l’instant fonctionné sans occasionner de pertes pour les obligataires et continuera à le faire jusqu’en 2013. Ce n’est qu’à cette date qu’il sera demandé au secteur privé d’assumer des pertes et seulement pour des emprunts contractés après cette date.

Mais les marchés n’ont pas grande confiance dans la ligne officielle – et pour cause : elle n’est pas crédible. Après tout, dire que des risques de pertes ne pourront se présenter sur des emprunts d’État qu’après la mise en place du nouveau mécanisme de gestion de crise en 2014 implique que toutes les obligations émises jusqu’alors sont sûres et que l’insolvabilité d’un État ne pourra être envisagée que dans un avenir lointain et pas aujourd’hui, contrairement à l’exemple de la Grèce et de l’Irlande. De fait, les responsables européens disent aux investisseurs, «  Qui croyez-vous – nous ou vos propres yeux ? ».

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