La Grèce ira-t-elle au FMI?

WASHINGTON – « Vous devriez aller au FMI » n’est pas un conseil que vous avez coutume de donner à des voisins amis ou à de proches alliés. Depuis quelques dizaines d’années, le Fond Monétaire International (FMI) se caractérise par une austérité budgétaire excessive, un manque aigu de sensibilité politique, et, depuis la crise financière asiatique de 1997-98, à des stigmates tenaces. Les pays n’ont emprunté au FMI que dans des situations extrêmement difficiles, lorsque toutes les autres solutions avaient échoué, et que le Fond représentait la seule possibilité de régler les importations essentielles à la vie du pays. (Dans le cas de l’Islande à l’automne 2008, par exemple, la seule alternative avant de requérir l’aide du FMI était de ne consommer que des aliments produits localement, en l’occurrence, du poisson.)

Mais le FMI a beaucoup changé ces dernières années, et ce principalement grâce à Dominique Strauss-Kahn, son actuel directeur. Strauss-Kahn, ancien ministre français de l’économie et candidat à l’investiture socialiste pour les prochaines élections présidentielles, a œuvré pour que le FMI puisse accorder sans conditions son aide financière dans certaines circonstances, et pour donner une plus grande priorité au maintien de la protection sociale (y compris des indemnités de chômage et des systèmes de santé). Il a aussi fait en sorte que le FMI abandonne son obsession des mesures d’austérité budgétaire (une grosse erreur commise rapidement, avec des conséquences fâcheuses et durables, en Indonésie et en Corée à la fin de 1997).

La Grèce est indubitablement en grande difficulté aujourd’hui. Les importantes opportunités offertes par son intégration européenne ont été largement gâchées. Et les taux d’intérêt de ces dix dernières années, ramenés aux niveaux allemands par l’autorisation, fort généreuse, faite à la Grèce de rentrer dans la zone euro, n’ont apporté que des déficits supplémentaires et un dangereux alourdissement de la dette publique.

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