Germany’s economy crept back into growth in the first quarter of the year, after a sharp contraction at the end of 2012, while France slipped into recession, data showed on Wednesday.
Germany grew by just 0.1% on the quarter, weaker than expected as a harsh winter prevented a stronger rebound.
“The German economy is only slowly picking up steam,” the Statistics Office said in a statement. “The extreme winter weather played a role in this weak growth.”
France entered a shallow recession after contracting by 0.2% in the first three months of the year, as it did in the last quarter of 2012, the INSEE statistics agency said.
The German statistics office revised down its figure for the end of 2012 to show a contraction of 0.7%, from 0.6%.
The difference between Europe’s two largest economies looks narrow over the first three months of the year but European diplomats and officials fear France will continue to lag far behind, threatening the cohesion of the twin policy motor that has traditionally driven the European project.