BRUSSELS, Feb. 14 (UPI) -- The eurozone remained in recession in the fourth quarter with five of the largest European economies in decline, Eurostat said Thursday.
The economy of the 17-member eurozone contracted 0.6 percent from the third quarter, the data agency said. In the overall European Union, which has 27 members, the gross domestic product declined 0.5 percent quarter to quarter.
Compared to the fourth quarter of 2011, the eurozone's GDP was down 0.9 percent, while the European Union posted a 0.6 percent decline.
In the fourth quarter, the GDP shrank in the top five European economies. In the largest, Germany, the economy contracted 0.6 percent from the third quarter. In France, it declined 0.3 percent. In Britain, Spain and Italy, the GDP dropped 0.3 percent, 0.7 percent and 0.9 percent, respectively.
The largest drop was in Greece. Compared to the fourth quarter of 2011, the economy in Greece has plunged 6 percent, Eurostat said.
The bright spots were in smaller countries. In Latvia, the GDP was up 5.7 percent compared to the fourth quarter a year earlier. In Slovakia, the GDP rose 1.2 percent over the same period.
But in quarter to quarter growth, only Latvia -- at 1.3 percent -- could muster a climb of more than 1 percent. From the third quarter, among the 19 countries with data available for the fourth quarter, 13 experienced economic contraction, Eurostat said.