Economic recovery in the euro-zone stuttered in the final quarter of last year, new statistics from Eurostat have revealed.
Growth was just 0.1 per cent, down on the market forecast of 0.3 per cent.
The German economy stagnated in the final quarter, following expansion in the previous two quarters.
France performed reasonably well with a consumer spending lead growth of 0.6 per cent, but Italy’s economy unexpectedly contracted by 0.2 per cent.
With the final quarter figures in, the annual numbers make for grim reading. 2009 handed Europe’s major economies their sharpest recession in recent times.
Forecasters now believe that the Euro Zone will have a weaker recovery than the United States this year, just as it fell harder than the United States in 2009.
Part of Europe’s problem is that it needs a reasonable pace of economic growth to help limit the surge in sovereign debt caused by the recession.