Germany's economy crept back into growth at the start of the year but not by enough to stop the euro zone from contracting for a sixth straight quarter, and France slid into recession.
Falling output across the bloc meant the 17-nation economy is in its longest recession since records began in 1995.
It shrank 0.2 percent in the January to March period, the EU's statistics office Eurostat said on Wednesday, worse than the 0.1 percent contraction forecast by a Reuters poll.
Jan 2012 - Profiting from Pain: Europe's Crisis Is Germany's Blessing
Its neighbors may be suffering, but the euro crisis has created conditions that actually benefit the German economy. Not only is the government enjoying the windfall of negative interest rates on bonds, but unemployment is down and exports are booming.
It's every debtor's dream. When asked for a loan, the bank not only agrees, but actually pays the borrower for their patronage. It sounds like a fairy tale, as though the laws of the market economy had been suspended. But on Monday it really happened.
The debtor in this case was the German government, which borrowed €3.9 billion ($5 billion) for the next six months at the unbelievable interest rate of -0.01 percent. Even the German Finance Agency was stunned. "This has never happened before," a spokesperson said.
July 2012 - Eurozone crisis saves Germany tens of billions
Germany has emerged as one of the biggest beneficiaries of the European financial crisis.
While other countries in 17-country group that use the euro have battled against investor fears that their economies are buckling under the pressure of too much debt, Germany has managed to save tens of billions of euros thanks to its reputation as a safe place for investments.
May 2013 - Euro crisis saves Germany money
Throughout Europe's debt crisis, northern European leaders have often said they will not stand for taxpayers having to fork out for other countries' problems, and the notion of "taxpayer-funded bailouts" has taken root.
Yet despite three-and-a-half years of debt and banking turmoil, with bailouts totaling more than 400 billion euros, northern euro zone taxpayers have not actually lost a cent.