European bank drama complicates U.S. recovery efforts

European leaders are scrambling to maintain confidence in its central bank after the abrupt resignation of one of the top officials at the European Central Bank (ECB), as continued struggles abroad complicate matters for American policymakers.

Juergen Stark, the top German at the ECB, announced his departure from the bank's executive board Friday, in a move thought to be a protest to the bank's policy of buying bonds to boost European nations grappling with debt problems.

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Stark's exit and the premise of a divided ECB pushed concerns about the European debt crisis to new heights, on a day that saw the Greek government publicly renounce rumors it would be defaulting on its debts over the weekend.

The continued struggles across the ocean are also making things harder for American lawmakers. While the president is pushing his broad jobs plan in an last-ditch effort to boost the ailing economic recovery, the European drama has been severely unsettling American financial markets. Stark's exit set off a sell-off in the Dow Jones Industrial Average Friday, which ended down 2.69 percent -- its largest single-day loss in three weeks.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeble announced Saturday that deputy finance minister Joerg Asmussen would replace Stark as Germany's voice at the ECB.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner was in Europe Friday and Saturday for a meeting of the G-7 finance ministers. He was scheduled to meet with Schauble Saturday afternoon, and Stark's exit will surely be a topic of conversation.