In 2017, price levels for consumer goods and services differed widely in the European Union (EU). Denmark (142% of the EU average) had the highest price level, followed by Luxembourg (127%), Ireland and Sweden (both 125%), Finland (122%) and the United Kingdom (117%). At the opposite end of the scale, the lowest price level was found in Bulgaria (48%), while Romania (52%) and Poland (56%) were just above 50% of 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 2017, 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 Romania and 65% in Poland, to 150% of the average in Denmark, followed by Sweden (126%), Austria (125%), Luxembourg (123%), Finland (118%), Ireland (117%), Belgium, France and Italy (all 112%).
Alcohol and tobacco most expensive in Ireland and the United Kingdom
Price levels for alcoholic beverages and tobacco showed significant variations between the EU Member States. The lowest price level in 2017 was registered in Bulgaria (56% of the average), ahead of Romania (69%) and Hungary (70%). At the opposite end of the scale, the highest prices were observed in Ireland (174%) and the United Kingdom (157%), followed at a distance by the three Nordic EU Member States – Finland (139%), Sweden (127%) and Denmark (123%). 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 and hotels is another category where large differences in price levels were observed. Price levels ranged from 60% or less of the EU average in Bulgaria (45%), Romania (53%) and the Czech Republic (60%) to 151% in Denmark and 146% 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 Ireland to 110% in Denmark and France. Clothing is another group of products showing a smaller price disparity among Member States, with Bulgaria (80% of the average) cheapest and Sweden (134%) most expensive. With the noticeable exception of Denmark (144% of the average) and the Netherlands (121%), price differences among Member States were also limited for personal transport equipment, from 81% in Slovakia to 111% in Finland, Ireland and Portugal.