Until recently, officials in many European countries bragged that they were relatively well insulated from the global credit crisis by what they described as superior regulatory oversight. But with a string of banks pleading for rescues in the past week, officials have begun to acknowledge that their rules were insufficient.
As European taxpayers absorbed the rapidly escalating expense of bank bailouts, lawmakers on the continent toned down their criticism of Wall Street as the origin of the problem and started to blame their own lenders for gorging on subprime loans and other risky investments.
"What were they doing screwing around in the United States?" French President Nicolas Sarkozy reportedly asked his aides after he was forced to negotiate a $9.2 billion emergency bailout Monday for Dexia, the troubled Franco-Belgian bank.