Continued from page 2

Guntram Wolff, deputy director of Brussels think tank Bruegel, says the bank’s actions are “a big example of moral hazard.”

But he adds it had little choice.

“The ECB had to step in and be a market maker for Italy and Spain, or they would have risked a financial meltdown,” said Mr. Wolff, who formerly coordinated the research group on fiscal policy at Germany’s famously anti-inflation Bundesbank.

“I don’t see how the ECB could not have done it. And it was difficult for me to come to that conclusion, with my background at the Bundesbank.”

Mr. Wolff said the challenge now for Mr. Draghi was to shift the balance and force governments to be the ones to do the bailing out and enforce the terms of good behavior.

“It should come from the capitals,” Mr. Wolff said. “It shouldn’t come from Frankfurt.”

Mr. Trichet appeared to concede Tuesday the bank’s hand was essentially forced, and to say ‘no’ would have meant even more worse trouble.

“To be in denial that we have the worst crisis since World War II would be the biggest mistake we could make,” he said.