The Eurozone authorities, both governments and the European Central Bank (ECB), have to bear a great deal of the responsibility for worsening the impact of the American sub-prime crisis and the Great Recession and taking the region to the brink of a potential collapse of the Euro project.
The graphic below captures the magnitude of ECB's failure. Even as the Italian economy lurched into crisis, ECB's tight monetary policy squeezed the Italian credit markets. All the three major credit growth indicators plunged steeply.
Update 1 (26/11/2011)
The Times likens the ECB to "a fire department that is letting the house burn down to teach the children not to play with matches". It writes that though the ECB "has a fire hose — its ability to print money... the bank is refusing to train it on the euro zone’s debt crisis". Influential ECB members and Germany believe that ECB cannot be a lender of last resort to backstop falling bond prices and its charter forbids them from using bank resources to finance governments.