The UK Was The 6th Most Expensive Country In The EU28.

The UK had 9th highest prices for consumer goods & services in Europe, says EU.

Ireland is 2nd most expensive in EU, according to latest EU report

In 2020, price levels for household consumer goods and services continued to differ widely across the EU27 countries — and across Europe as a whole. The United Kingdom comes out as the 9th most expensive country amongst the 37 European countries studied. The UK’s neighbour Ireland is much more expensive, with an index of 137.0 compared to the UK’s 119.1, making Ireland the second-most expensive country in the EU.

I have analysed the latest data for what is known as “household final consumption expenditure” (HFCE). This includes figures for more than 2,000 consumer goods and services, adjusted for exchange rates and purchasing power parities, and then expressed as indices where the EU27 average is taken as being 100%, for comparison purposes.

The most expensive countries in Europe.

The top 20 most expensive countries

The top 20 most expensive countries

  1. Switzerland 169.5
  2. Denmark 140.5
  3. Norway 138.6
  4. Iceland 137.0
  5. Ireland 136.1
  6. Luxembourg 136.0
  7. Sweden 130.0
  8. Finland 126.3
  9. United Kingdom 119.1
  10. Netherlands 116.5
  11. Belgium 115.2
  12. Austria 115.1
  13. France 114.1
  14. Germany 108.2
  15. Italy 101.2
  16. Spain 95.5
  17. Cyprus 89.6
  18. Portugal 89.0
  19. Slovakia 88.3
  20. Malta 88.2

Which goods and services are covered, and in which countries?

It is important to note that the data above covers far more than a typical ‘shopping basket’ comparison. The full list of the areas of expenditure includes food, beverages, tobacco, clothing and footwear, energy, water, furniture, household appliances and consumer electronics, personal transport equipment (cars and bikes), transport services, communication, restaurants and hotels.

The countries covered include the EU27 countries, the United Kingdom, the three EFTA countries of Iceland, Norway and Switzerland, the five EU candidate countries of Albania, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Turkey, and one potential candidate country: Bosnia and Herzegovina. This totals 37 European countries. I also looked at two non-European countries as a comparison: the United States and Japan.

The most and least expensive countries in Europe

Overall, the most expensive country is Switzerland (index of 170) and the least expensive is Turkey (38). These two countries top and tail the tables even when these are individually broken down into broad product and service groupings, such as food and drink, or energy and household items like furniture and appliances.

The United Kingdom (119.1), despite being a highly developed country compared to many of the 37 countries on the list, comes out reasonably well when taking into account the EU’s tariffs on imported goods. Ranked 9th in Europe overall, it is more expensive than the EU27 country average (100.0) but is less expensive than the United States (119.5) and Japan (127.9).

Will Brexit Britain’s consumers soon start to enjoy lower prices?

In 2020, when the above figures were compiled by the EU, the UK was still a member of the European Union and was still having to apply the EU’s protectionist tariffs on goods imported from non-EU countries. Many of these tariffs were significant and were designed by the EU to aid the interests of producers in countries such as France, Italy, Spain, and Germany.

In addition, it is worth pointing out that over 50% of the UK’s imported goods came from the EU27. Now that the United Kingdom has left, it seems likely that British consumers will start to benefit from lower prices of imported goods from around the world. And as Liz Truss, the Secretary of State for International Trade notches up an increasing number of global free trade deals with lower or zero tariffs, prices may fall.

What price the EU’s “Level Playing Field”?

Once again I must point out the absurdity of the EU’s “Level Playing Field” demands on the United Kingdom. How can the EU Commission possibly insist on the whole raft of strictures with which they are trying to hold Brexit Britain back when the “Playing Field” for consumers across the EU27 is slanted on a slope with such a steep angle?

Huge disparities exist across the EU, with Denmark’s price level being 2.5 times that of Romania

The “household final consumption expenditure” index for Romania is just 54.8. This is 39% of the level of the most expensive country in the EU, Denmark, on 140.5. This doesn’t seem like a particularly ‘level playing field’ to ME. Does it to you dear reader?

Sources: EU Commission

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Sir Ron Harrison

Sir Ron Harrison

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What is life without a little controversy in it? Quite boring and sterile would be my answer.