Hungary was the fourth-cheapest country in the European Union (EU) last year, according to a recent report from Eurostat statistical office. Only Bulgaria, Romania and Poland had lower consumer prices for food and services. As for alcoholic beverages and tobacco, the lowest prices among all countries were found in Hungary.
Goods and services’ prices differed widely across the 27 member states in 2011, Eurostat found, varying from 51 per cent of the EU average (100 per cent) in Bulgaria to 142 per cent in Denmark. In Hungary price levels were 64 per cent of the average, meaning 36 per cent below the EU average. Similar prices were found in Lithuania, on 66 per cent of the EU average, and Poland and Romania, both 60 per cent.
Vandna Kalia, press officer for economic and monetary affairs at the European Commission, said the findings for Hungary accorded with the country’s wealth. “Hungary’s GDP per capita in Purchasing Power Standards (PPS) amounts to around two-thirds of the EU average,” Kalia said. Thus “the price level data for Hungary is perfectly in line with the relative wealth of the country”, she said.
Moreover, countries in a certain region tend to show similar results. According to Eurostat, the cheapest cost of living was in Bulgaria, Romania, Poland, Hungary and Lithuania, all Central and Eastern European countries. Northern Europe had the highest prices, with Denmark, Sweden and Finland at the top of the chart. Prices just above and below the average were found mostly in Western and Southern Europe.
Ireland, France, Germany and the United Kingdom were found to have similar costs of living, with price levels of ten to 20 per cent above the EU average.
As for food and non-alcoholic beverages’ prices, Denmark still held the leading position, with 136 per cent of the average, whereas Bulgaria, with 67 per cent, remained cheapest. Nevertheless, differences in price levels between member states “were less for this product group than for total goods and services”, Eurostat said.
On the other hand, the prices for alcoholic beverages and tobacco showed a large variation among countries, Hungary being cheapest with 63 per cent of the EU average. The highest were in Ireland (163 per cent). Eurostat said the variation was mainly due to taxation.