The euro zone crisis was in full swing when Jean-Claude Trichet took the podium in Berlin last October 6 for his final press conference as president of the European Central Bank. Having helped create one of the longest periods of price stability in the history of central banking, Trichet was closing out his eight-year reign under siege.
Soaring oil prices had made a mockery of the bank's superlative record on inflation, while the worst recession on the continent since World War II had morphed into a full-scale sovereign debt crisis. Franco-Belgian bank Dexia, whose shares had dropped 22 percent just 48 hours earlier, was mere days away from becoming the first casualty of the liquidity crisis engulfing Europe. And there was widespread speculation that Greece, a member of the euro single currency and already the recipient of a 110 billion euro bailout the previous year, was slipping dangerously behind targets and would need further aid.
Europe's banks on the brink - Yahoo! News