Chris Van Es

L'Europe face au risque souverain

MUNICH – Après avoir décidé de doubler la capacité de prêt (notée AAA) du Fonds européen de stabilité financière, le fonds spécial crée par les pays de la zone euro pour aider les Etats membres en difficulté, l'UE discute maintenant des conditions auxquelles ce Fonds devrait intervenir. La question cruciale est de fixer dans quelle proportion exiger des créanciers qu'ils renoncent à une partie de leur dette (le "haircut") lors de la mise en oeuvre d'un plan de sauvetage.

Les représentants des pays surendettés et des pays dont les banques courent des risques liés à leur activité de prêts disent que cette mesure déstabiliserait le système financier européen et produirait par contagion une deuxième crise du style Lehman Brothers. Mais un groupe d'économistes de sept pays européens réunis au sein de l'European Economic Advisory Group (EEAG) du CESifo (un institut allemand) rejette ce point de vue dans son dernier rapport publié récemment à Bruxelles.

Ce groupe estime qu'une crise de ce type ne peut se reproduire, pour la simple raison qu'elle s'est déjà produite. En octobre 2008, un mois après l'effondrement de Lehman Brothers, le G8 a décidé de venir à l'aide de toutes les banques d'importance systémique ; 4900 milliards d'euros ont été placés dans des dispositifs destinés à cela à travers la planète, dont la plus grande partie est encore intacte aujourd'hui. Si une banque importante rencontre des difficultés en raison d'un défaut lié à une dette souveraine, les fonds de secours nécessaires seront rapidement disponibles. Un nouvel effondrement du marché interbancaire est donc très improbable.

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