French and German banks are most at risk
EVERY debtor has creditors and vast amounts of Italian debt are held by their near neighbours in France and Germany.
French banks are on the hook for a staggering €415bn in loans to Italy. Germany's banks also face massive losses if Italy's banks, consumers and businesses start going to the wall as a result of the crisis there.
It means that, with or without Silvio Berlusconi, the financial crisis in Italy has huge ramifications for its bigger euro neighbours.
French banks have made more loans to Italy than any other country. French institutions are owed more than €100bn of the €1.9 trillion owed by the Italian government. It's a bigger share than the next five lender countries combined.
German banks are next, with a hefty €50bn of government loans outstanding.
Once the big two are out of the way the numbers fall off sharply, but Japan and the UK also have big reasons to hope Italians are as good at paying back loans as they are at borrowing.