Britain has slipped back into recession.
The Office for National Statistics on Wednesday said the country's economy shrank by two-tenths of a percent for the first three months of the year. That drop follows a three-tenths-of-a-percent decline over the last three months of 2011.
A recession is defined as two consecutive three-month periods -- two consecutive quarters -- of negative growth.
Most economists had forecast slight growth for the British economy to start 2012.
The news that Britain has slipped back into recession comes a day after Greece's central bank said that country's troubled economy is shrinking even faster than first thought.
The bank's governor, George Provopoulos, said Tuesday the Greek economy will contract as much as 5 percent this year -- the country's fifth straight year of recession. Just a month ago, the bank had predicted the economy would shrink only 4.5 percent.
Provopoulos said that as soon as Greek voters pick a new government in the May 6 elections, the debt-ridden country needs to return quickly to imposing more austerity measures to keep its deficit spending in check.
But the austerity measures have proven unpopular in Greece and other European countries seeking to cut their deficits. Workers have staged frequent public protests in Athens and other capitals.
Now, with European economic growth stagnant at best and voters balking at more spending cuts, some officials are calling for policies to boost the continent's economic fortunes. On Wednesday, Mario Draghi, chief of the European Central Bank, said Europe needs a "growth compact."
"The euro area must continue to be a credible area of price stability, fiscal stability and growth," said Draghi. "This is something that all actors should have in their mind: a credible area of price stability, fiscal stability and growth. And if these elements are not present, all of them, then its credibility will diminish, and we are based, like all common currency areas, a lot on being credible to the rest of the world."
Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.