BRUSSELS, Aug. 16 (UPI) — The European Union’s economy grew 0.2 percent in the second quarter compared to the first, the statistical agency Eurostat said Tuesday.
The economy grew 1.7 percent over the past 12 months, Eurostat said. The numbers were identical to quarter-to-quarter and year-over-year figures for the 17-member eurozone, which shares the euro as currency.
The figures were published just before a summit meeting Tuesday between French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel,
The report says quarter-to-quarter growth was flat in France and 0.1 percent in Germany. Overall, bleaker numbers leave few options for the leaders who will discuss ways to curtail the spreading debt crisis in Europe.
Following the downgrade of the U.S. credit rating, it is feared that France will also fall from the top tier and lose its Triple A credit rating as well.
The European statistical office said the gross domestic product grew fastest in the quarter in Latvia, up 2.2 percent, and held flat in Portugal, Hungary and France.
The report is considered a “flash estimate” that could be revised as more data becomes available.