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Europe is in the midst of its longest recession since it began keeping records in 1995 -- even surpassing the calamity that hit the region in the financial crisis of 2008-2009. While the German economy grew 0.1% from the fourth quarter of 2012 to the first quarter of this year, just about everyone else in the eurozone is shrinking.
France’s economy shrank 0.2% quarter on quarter, and is now officially back in recession after just one quarter of positive growth. It’s not alone: Cyprus, Finland, Italy, Greece, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain are all in recession right now. And while the UK managed to just barely avoid a triple-dip recession by growing 0.3% in the first quarter, its economy is still 2.6% smaller than it was 5 years ago.
Yesterday, Pew’s latest eurozone survey confirmed that the continent’s sentiment matches its dour economic data. The survey’s disconcerting conclusion:
The European Union is the new sick man of Europe. The effort over the past half century to create a more united Europe is now the principal casualty of the euro crisis... The prolonged economic crisis has created centrifugal forces that are pulling European public opinion apart, separating the French from the Germans and the Germans from everyone else.