Italian prime minister offers resignation

His potential exit comes just days after Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou agreed to resign as a new coalition government was formed in the nation where Europe's debt crisis first reared its head.

Europe's leaders have struggled for months to get a handle on the European Union's debt crisis. After leaders seemed to finally break through on a broad agreement to tackle the crisis, those efforts were thrown in doubt by a surprise announcement by Papandreou that the plan would be voted on by the Greek people as a referendum. He later backed down from that plan.

Meanwhile, the continued turmoil has roiled financial markets both foreign and domestic, and was identified by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner last month as the "biggest challenge" to economic growth across the world.