The statistical service of the EU (Eurostat) has just published a comparison of consumer prices in all 27 countries of the EU. The survey was done last year.

 The most expensive country in the EU is Denmark, where prices are 41% above the average for the EU as a whole. 

The least expensive is Romania where prices are 45% below the EU average. 

This is a very wide gap between countries in an EU where is there is free movement of goods, people and capital, and a Single Market designed to promote competition, and cross border shopping(including via the internet)

The country with a price level that is nearest to the EU overall average is Italy. Spain’s prices are just 4% below the EU average, Portugal 11% and Greece 14% below.

 Apart from the weather, this explains why these countries are attractive locations for holidaymakers and retired people.

Prices are also much below the EU average in Bulgaria and Poland.

After Denmark, the next most expensive EU countries are Ireland and Luxembourg, where prices are 36%  above the average. Next is Sweden (+30%), and Finland (+26%). 

German price levels are only 8% above the EU average, which means that the cost of living there is much below the Scandinavian countries and Ireland. 

Of course, price levels do not tell the whole story. If wages are higher, the higher prices are more affordable. Indeed higher prices may reflect the cost of higher wages. 

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