In a series of bluntly worded reports prepared by officials for a meeting of finance ministers this week, they highlight a “risk of a vicious circle between sovereign debt, bank funding and negative growth” spurring a fresh freeze in lending.

“While tensions in sovereign debt markets have intensified and bank funding risks have increased over the summer, contagion has spread across markets and countries and the crisis has become systemic,” officials write in the documents obtained by Reuters.

The reports, which raise concerns in unusually emphatic language and make pointed criticism of some countries for failing to help weak banks, highlight a sense of alarm in European capitals about the financial crisis.

They also show a growing sense of exacerbation at the failure of Spain, Germany and others to deal with flagging banks even after their weaknesses were exposed by recent stress tests.