BRUSSELS (

TheStreet

) - The European economy grew just 0.1% in the fourth quarter, according to official figures released on Friday, underlining Europe's struggle to emerge from the global recession.

Eurostat, the European Union's statistics office, reports that GDP within the 16-country Eurozone barely increased compared to the third quarter, when the economy grew 0.4%.

Over the full year, GDP fell by 4% in the Euro area.

Greece, which is in the throes of a major

economic crisis

saw its economy contract by 0.8% between the third and fourth quarters of 2009. France's economy, however, grew 0.6% over the same period.

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The EU27 group of countries, which includes the likes of the United Kingdom, also saw its GDP increase by just 0.1% in the fourth quarter.

In contrast, U.S. fourth-quarter GDP increased by 1.4% compared to the previous quarter, when it grew 0.6%.

-- Reported by James Rogers in New York

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