Belgium has become the first eurozone member, not subject to a bailout programme, to formally fall into recession, according to data for the second half of last year released by the country's central bank.
The data published on Wednesday has shown that in the fourth quarter of last year, the nation's GDP dropped by 0.2 percent following a quarterly contraction of 0.1 percent in the July-September period.
The onset of a slump in the Belgian economy could be indicative of the recession, which this year threatens to sweep the entire euro area. Belgium, eurozone's sixth largest economy, is often cited as a forerunner of things to be expected in Europe. Germany, France, Italy and the Netherlands are also due to release their GDP estimates.
Europe is already battling a serious debt crisis. With the euro becoming extremely unsustainable in its current form, it is certain that the eurozone is almost horrified at the possiblity of an unpleasant end to the single currency. It could result in the collapse of banking systems, drying up of credit and eventually a freefall of world trade.
If Italy defaults on its debt, the immediate consequence would be that exports to Europe will be slowed down, putting banks in a situation where they will have to take losses on their European loans and debt insurance.
The possibility of severe measures taken to save the euro can be expected in the coming weeks. One thing is for sure that these will be seriously monitored by the world as it cannot afford to be forced into another recession in the near future.