Europe has for months stood unified in its public position that it will be able to withstand the developing financial maelstrom because its banks are healthier than U.S. banks. Over the past few days, however, that position has changed.

Belgian, French and Luxembourgian authorities have stepped in to shore up Fortis Bank. Irish, German and Danish governments have announced guarantees to backstop private bank deposits. And the Swedish government has increased the level of its deposit guarantees.

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