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The European Central Bank president, Jean-Claude Trichet, warned this weekend that Europe faces its worst crisis since the second world war as he called for a "quantum leap" from eurozone countries in getting a grip on their finances.
With political leaders across the eurozone lining up to blame the financial markets for their economic plight, Trichet said it was Europe's governments that were responsible for the euro's slump, rather than currency traders and speculators.
In an interview with German news magazine Der Spiegel, Trichet compared the situation just over a week ago – when markets went into freefall – with the start of the credit crunch. "The markets stopped functioning – it was almost like the situation after the collapse of Lehman Brothers in September 2008." He added that Europe is "undoubtedly in the worst situation since the second world war, perhaps even since the first. We have experienced, and are experiencing, really dramatic times."