La fracture nord-sud de l'Europe : une bombe à retardement

ATHENES – La crise de la dette au sein de la zone euro a élargi le fossé entre les pays économiquement forts du nord et ceux plus faibles du sud, accablés par le poids de la dette (avec la France qui est une sorte de no man's land entre les deux). Aussi tout le monde se pose la même question : l'union monétaire européenne, voire l'Union européenne elle-même, vont-elles survivre à la crise ?

Les pays membres du nord bénéficient d'emprunts à faible taux et d'une croissance stable, tandis que ceux du sud sont confrontés à des emprunts à taux élevé, à la récession, à une baisse marquée des revenus et des dépenses à caractère social. Ils souffrent aussi d'une baisse importante de la production et leur taux de chômage est largement supérieur à celui des pays du nord. Le taux de chômage moyen de la zone euro est de 12%, alors qu'il dépasse 25% en Espagne et en Grèce (le taux de chômage des jeunes y est maintenant de 60%). Aujourd'hui le revenu agrégé par habitant au sein de la zone euro est celui de 2007. La Grèce a été renvoyée au niveau de 2000 et l'Italie se retrouve au niveau de 1997.

La dégradation des économies du sud de l'Europe tient largement à une politique d'austérité trop rigoureuse et à l'absence de mesures pour compenser la baisse de la demande. Une dévaluation - qui doperait leur compétitivité en diminuant le prix de leurs exportations - n'est évidemment pas réalisable dans le cadre d'une union monétaire.

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