Ireland and Denmark were the two most expensive European Union countries for basic goods and services last year, according to Eurostat.
The EU’s statistics agency published data on Tuesday showing that price levels here and in Denmark were 40 per cent higher than the EU average. This was followed by Luxembourg (32 per cent higher), Sweden (28 per cent higher) and Finland (26 per cent higher).
The lowest price levels were found in Romania and Bulgaria (prices in both countries were 56 per cent of the EU average). The findings come amid a major cost-of-living squeeze on the back of higher energy and food prices. The Government has promised additional measures to deal with rising prices but not before October’s budget.
The Eurostat figures indicated that Ireland was the most expensive country for alcohol and tobacco, with prices 205 per cent of the EU average or 105 per cent above the average.
This was followed by Finland (173 per cent of the average), Sweden (136 per cent) and Denmark and France (both 134 per cent). Conversely prices in Bulgaria and Poland were 64 per cent and 72 per cent of the EU average.
The large price variation in alcohol and tobacco was “mainly due to differences in taxation of these products,” Eurostat said.
The category with the widest price gaps between countries was restaurants and hotels. Denmark was the most expensive with prices 155 per cent of the EU average, followed by Sweden at 137 per cent and Finland at 133 per cent. Ireland was 129.5 per cent of the average.
Eurostat noted that the price level for restaurants and hotels was 3.4 times higher in the most expensive country (Denmark) than in the cheapest one (Bulgaria).
Food prices were most expensive in Luxembourg (125 per cent of the average), Denmark (120 per cent) and Ireland (119 per cent), and cheapest in Romania (69 per cent of the EU average) and Poland (72 per cent).
Clothing is a sector where prices differed less among the member states, ranging from 76 per cent of the average in Bulgaria to 134 per cent in Denmark, Eurostat said.
Personal transport equipment recorded a smaller price disparity among member states, with Poland (81 per cent of the EU average) cheapest and Denmark (138 per cent) most expensive. Price differences were also limited for electronic goods from 88 per cent of the average in Poland to 113 per cent in the Netherlands.
The Eurostat figures show prices in Switzerland, Iceland and Norway were higher than most EU countries, at 166 per cent, 150 per cent and 146 per cent of the EU average respectively.