¿Se salvarán a si mismos los pecadores de Europa?

Cuando las autoridades alemanas presionaron en los años 90 para que se aceptara el Pacto de Estabilidad y Crecimiento como un prerrequisito para renunciar al Marco Alemán, no previeron que Alemania sería el primer país en violarlo. Mientras el pacto señala que un gobierno no puede endeudarse en más de un 3% de su PGB, el déficit de las finanzas públicas de Alemania llegó al 3,7% del PGB (y más) desde el año 2002 al 2004.

Sin embargo, ha habido otros pecadores. Francia también violó el criterio del pacto fiscal en estos tres años. Portugal lo hizo en 2001 y Holanda también, en 2003. Grecia hizo trampa mediante la manipulación de sus estadísticas: si bien informó déficits por debajo del límite, el país tuvo que admitir que el verdadero déficit de 2000 a 2004 fue, en promedio, un 4,3% y que nunca estuvo por debajo del 3,7%.

Otros países han tenido más éxito, gracias a afortunadas circunstancias. Italia, por ejemplo, no sólo se benefició de la contabilidad creativa de su gobierno, sino también del hecho de que el euro generó una convergencia en los tipos de interés de Europa. Los tipos de interés de largo plazo para los bonos del gobierno italiano bajaron de cerca del 12% a aproximadamente el 4% en la década comprendida entre 1994-95 y 2004-05. Actualmente, la relación entre deuda y PGB en Italia se acerca al 106%, por lo que los menores costos de los préstamos redujeron la relación de la deuda pública en más de ocho puntos porcentuales.

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