The latest figures out of Europe show that the region is edging closer to recession, dragged down by the crippling debt problems of the 17 countries that use the euro.

Eurostat, Europe's statistics agency, revealed that the economies of both the euro zone and the European Union, which has 27 countries, shrank by a quarterly rate of 0.2% in the second quarter of the year.

In the first quarter, output for both regions was flat.

Europe's stumbling economy is making it harder for other economies around the world to recover and policymakers are urging more decisive action to deal with the crippling debt crisis to restore confidence to the global economy.