Germany's DAX Index plunged 129.42 points, or 4.10%, to 3,026.55. The biggest contributors to the losses in the index were Deutsche Bank, Siemens, Munich RE, Allianz and DaimlerChrysler.
In France, the CAC 40 was down 128.78 points, or 4.13%, to 2,992.23.
In Asia, the markets posted gains. The Nikkei added 25.13 points, or 0.29%, to 8,714.52, despite poor sentiment towards corporate earnings and the chaotic situation concerning the country's financial system.
In Hong Kong, the market surged 255.61 points, or 2.68%, to 9,804.65.