The price level for food, alcoholic beverages and tobacco in the new member states of the European Union (EU) is mostly far below the average price level in the EU 25 as a whole. Poland is the cheapest country, Ireland the most expensive country in the EU 25.
Ireland most expensive country in the EU
In 2003 the average price level in Poland was 50 percent below the level of the EU 25. Spain, Estonia and Slovenia, too, are relatively cheap countries.
Prices in Ireland are 44 percent above the EU average, making it the most expensive country in the European Union. Prices are also high in the Scandinavian countries. On the whole, North-West Europe is relatively expensive, whereas South-East Europe is relatively cheap. The Netherlands and surrounding countries are in the middle bracket.
Price level food, tobacco and alcoholic drinks, 2003
Prices for alcoholic beverages and tobacco are subject to this regional pattern in the various EU countries and are lower in the new and Southern European member states (excluding Cyprus) than in the member states situated in Central and Northern Europe. Varying excise duty rates for alcohol and tobacco are partly accountable.
Prices for tobacco and alcoholic drinks show more variation than food prices in general. Prices for tobacco products differ widely within the EU and are highest in the United Kingdom, more than seven times as high as in Lithuania. The highest prices for alcoholic drinks are found in Finland. Prices are also relatively high in Ireland.
Price level tobacco and alcoholic drinks, 2003