The FINANCIAL -- In 2016, price levels for consumer goods and services differed widely in the European Union (EU). Denmark (139% of the EU average) had the highest price level, followed by Ireland (125%), Luxembourg and Sweden (both 124%), Finland and the United Kingdom (both 121%).
At the opposite end of the scale, the lowest price level was found in Bulgaria (48%), while Poland (53%) and Romania (52%) were just above 50% the average. In other words, price levels for consumer goods and services in the EU varied by almost one to three between the cheapest and the most expensive Member State.
Food price levels highest in Denmark, lowest in Poland and Romania
In 2016, the price level of a comparable basket of food and non-alcoholic beverages across the EU was more than twice as high in the most expensive Member State than in the cheapest one. Price levels ranged from 62% of the EU average in both Poland and Romania to almost 150% of the average in Denmark (148%), followed by Sweden (126%), Austria (123%), Luxembourg (121%), Ireland and Finland (both 120%).
Alcohol and tobacco most expensive in Ireland and the United Kingdom
With a variation by over one to three between Member States, price levels for alcoholic beverages and tobacco showed significant variations. The lowest price level in 2016 was registered in Bulgaria (56% of the average), ahead of Hungary (67%), Poland (68%) and Romania (69%). At the opposite end of the scale, the highest prices were observed in Ireland (175%) and the United Kingdom (162%), followed at a distance by the three Nordic EU Member States – Finland (135%), Sweden (128%) and Denmark (122%). It should be noted that this large price variation is mainly due to differences in taxation of these products among Member States.
Restaurants and hotels more than 3 times more expensive in Denmark than in Bulgaria
Restaurants & hotels is another category where differences in price levels were most pronounced. Price levels ranged from less than 60% of the EU average in Bulgaria (44%), Romania (53%) and the Czech Republic (56%) to 150% in Denmark and 144% in Sweden.
Smaller disparities for consumer electronics, personal transport equipment and clothes
Consumer electronics is a group of products where prices differed less among Member States, ranging from 86% of the average in Poland to 115% in Denmark. Clothing is another group of products showing a smaller price disparity among Member States, with Bulgaria (81% of the average) cheapest and Sweden (136%) most expensive. With the noticeable exception of Denmark (146% of the average), price differences among Member States were also limited for personal transport equipment, from 78% in the Czech Republic to 119% in the Netherlands.