Wolfgang Schauble Wiktor Dabkowski/ZumaPress

L’obsession allemande

PRINCETON – L’un des thèmes persistants – et en réalité l’un des leitmotivs – entourant la manière dont les dirigeants allemands débattent de la zone euro réside dans une insistance sur l’importance du respect des règles. En écho à ce refrain, le reste de l’union monétaire demande à savoir pourquoi l’Allemagne adopte une approche aussi inflexible. La réponse à cette question reflète la manière dont le système de gouvernement fédéral de l’Allemagne façonne son processus décisionnel, de même que l’expérience historique de l’Allemagne en matière de crises de la dette.

L’obsession allemande pour les règles remonte à une période bien antérieure à l’actuelle crise de la zone euro. Les dirigeants du pays ont toujours insisté sur l’idée que l’Europe ne pourrait disposer d’une monnaie unique sans avoir au préalable atteint une convergence économique. Il est cependant apparu que cette convergence ne se produirait jamais. C’est la raison pour laquelle, au cours de la création de la zone euro dans les années 1990, l’Allemagne argumenta en faveur d’une rigoureuse application des « critères de convergence », en tant que conditions préalables d’une adoption de l’euro.

Les économistes de tous les pays tournèrent en ridicule cette obsession germanique à l’égard de règles strictes. Sur quelles bases considérer par exemple comme viable un ratio dette/PIB de 59 %, et juger irresponsables et dangereux un ratio de 62 % ? Quoi qu’il en soit, les Allemands insistèrent, et finirent par obtenir gain de cause.

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