Petrol bomb explodes near riot police during huge anti-austerity demonstration in Athens, Greece (Reuters/Yiorgos Karahalis)

Eurozone economic output contracted by 0.3 percent in the last three months of 2011, official figures show.

Eurostat, the EU's statistics office, released the data on 15 February and confirmed that the single currency area is likely to be wallowing in full recession.

The technical definition of a recession is two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth.

Individual eurozone countries are reporting miserable GDP figures.

Italy announced its economy contracted by 0.7 percent in the last quarter of 2011, having already slumped the previous quarter, meaning the Italians are in recession.

Figures from Greece and Portugal show the pair are sliding even deeper into recession.

There could be worse yet for Greece and the rest of the eurozone, as the country has yet to find a rescue deal that will stop it defaulting on its vast debts, something that could potentially plunge Europe into depression.

Riots are breaking out across the country, which is pursuing harsh austerity measures.

Normally robust Germany, an economic powerhouse in the eurozone that is just about keeping the area afloat, saw its economy contract by 0.2 percent in the final quarter of 2011.

The single currency area is suffering from a sovereign debt crisis, as governments' cost of borrowing spirals amid their struggle to pay back debtors.

Outside the eurozone, the Czech Republic has slipped into recession after reporting that its economy slipped by 0.3 percent in the last three months of 2011.