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Après Maastricht : quelles politiques économiques en Europe ?

Abstract : After Maastricht: Which economic policies in Europe? The Maastricht Treaty presents Europe with the difficult problem of economic policy organization in Europe in a transitory stage as well as in the working of a single currency zone. Two points of view conflict: some argue that the construction of Europe should help foster an active economic policy towards growth. By contrast, the Maastricht agreement opts for a « virtuous » economic policy in Europe by adopting rigorous criteria for public debt and deficits and also by setting up an independent central bank. Agreements plan a transitory stage that will dictate economic policy for the European countries. This stage appears in a context of weak growth. By now, 1 0 of the 1 2 EC countries do not fulfill the Maastricht criteria and must apply restrictive economic policy. This is difficult to justify for some countries, that despite a large public debt, have a balance with the rest of the World. The fiscal adjustment required is extremely strong for some countries: 7.5 points in GDP for Italy, 7 points for Belgium and Greece, 2 points for Ireland. A simulation carried out with the MIMOSA model, shows that, if those countries applied a policy which represents half of what is needed to achieve the Treaty's criteria, the rate of growth of Europe would be 0,3 % lower during the first three years and its level 1 .5 % lower than its baseline in 1999. This economic policy would have a very recessive impact on the countries, but the aim of a public debt lower than 60% of GDP would not be achieved. That does not augur well for economic policy organization in the European Union. The treaty plans that an independent central bank be put in charge of price stability above all. Countries won't have any influence on monetary policy but let it to rigorous policy advocate. By contrast, countries won't have to be careful to their external balance neither to fear unfavourable expectations of exchange rate. This freedom could be useful but also risky if each country undertakes a boom. To prevent this, the Treaty imposes limits on debt and deficit, without taking into account short run or structural situations, which can call for more freedom. The Maastricht agreement can contribute to impulse growth in Europe, but at the present stage, it does not plan satisfactory co-ordination between the ECB, responsible for the monetary policy and the thirteen fiscal authorities. New agreements, instituting co-ordination of all economic policy instruments are needed.
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Henri Delessy, Frédéric Lerais, Sébastien Paris-Horvitz, Henri Sterdyniak. Après Maastricht : quelles politiques économiques en Europe ?. Revue de l'OFCE, Presses de Sciences Po, 1993, pp.273 - 305. ⟨10.3406/ofce.1993.1305⟩. ⟨hal-03475871⟩

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