It's a recession - official

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The Netherlands officially went into recession in the fourth quarter of last year.

Statistics Netherlands published figures today showing a 0.7 percent reduction in gross domestic product, including all goods and services, compared with the previous quarter. The third quarter showed a reduction of 0.4 percent.

Economists regard two successive quarters with a shrinking economy as constituting a recession.

The last recession in the Netherlands began in the fourth quarter of 2008 and ended in the second quarter of 2009.

Over the whole of 2011, the Dutch economy grew by 1.2 percent. In 2010 the figure was 1.7 percent.

Reacting to the figures, Economic Affairs Minister Maxime Verhagen said "We have to make an effort now, otherwise we'll be faced with a long period of economic stagnation." He explained that it is "unlikely for economic growth to increase of its own accord" and pleaded for "clever cuts" and economic reforms to strengthen the economy.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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