Moody's has taken the first step toward stripping Germany of its coveted AAA credit rating, cutting the outlook for Europe's largest and most pivotal economy to "negative".
Delivering a stark warning on Monday that no one is immune from the eurozone's rolling crisis, the ratings agency lowered Germany's credit outlook from "stable" to "negative".
A similar move was announced for fellow AAA ranked economies, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.
Moody's said all three faced risks from Greece leaving the eurozone and from the need to stump up cash for potential bailouts for Spain and Italy.
In Germany the finance ministry immediately shot back by saying the country remains the "eurozone's anchor of stability".
The ministry says it has "taken note of Moody's opinion" while stating the "estimate" put the focus "on short-term risks, while stability prospects in the long term are not mentioned".
Moody's rationale for the downgrade appears to hinge on a likely deepening of the crisis, which appears to be reaching a fresh denouement as Spanish borrowing costs soar and Greek reforms are on the rocks.
"The level of uncertainty about the outlook for the euro area, and the potential impact of plausible scenarios on member states, are no longer consistent with stable outlooks," Moody's says.
Even if Greece survives, the agency warns that richer nations will likely shoulder greater burdens in future.
"The continued deterioration in Spain and Italy's macroeconomic and funding environment has increased the risk that they will require some kind of external support."
That would send the eurozone crisis to a different level, it said.
"Spain's economy and government bond market is around double the combined size of those of Greece, Portugal and Ireland," Moody's said referring to the three already bailed-out eurozone nations.
While Berlin has, until now, been largely unscathed by the crisis - borrowing at below zero per cent interest - it has been at the very centre of Europe's political storm.
The government of Chancellor Angela Merkel has repeatedly been frequently criticised for its austerity-first approach and for not getting ahead of the crisis.
Moody's reiterated those concerns, pointing to a "reactive and gradualist policy response" by European leaders as cause of concern.
Germany, which is reluctant to have its taxpayers on the hook for profligate spending in southern Europe says it will "do all it can with its partners to overcome the European debt crisis as quickly as possible".
Moody's also announced that Finland's AAA rating and outlook were unchanged.