New Eurostat figures out today show that Irish prices for a broad cross-section of consumer goods and services were the second highest in the EU, coming in at 125% of EU average in 2016. With the exception of consumer electronics, Ireland was above the EU average for all the price categories surveyed.
Ireland was highest in the EU for alcoholic beverages and tobacco (175% of the EU average), third highest for "personal transport equipment" i.e. cars, motor-bikes and bicycles, (111% of EU average) fourth highest for restaurants and hotels and fifth highest for food and non-alcoholic drinks (120% of EU average).
In a recent development, Ireland is also now above average for clothing at 112% of the EU average prices.
However, the EU overall, including Ireland, remains a lot cheaper than some non-EU European countries, with Switzerland, Iceland and Norway outstripping EU prices by a significant margin (see table above).
Across the EU, 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. Denmark was the most expensive of all highest at 139% of the EU average, while Bulgaria (48%) and Romania (52%) the cheapest.
Ireland had the highest prices for alcohol and tobacco in the EU at 175% of the average. The next highest prices were in the UK (162%) followed by followed at a distance by the three Nordic EU Member States – Finland (135%), Sweden (128%) and Denmark (122%). Lowest prices in Bulgaria (56%) followed by Hungary (67%), Poland (68%) and Romania (69%). The large price variation is mainly due to differences in taxation of these products among Member States.
Ireland was joint fifth highest (with Finland) for food and non-alcoholic beverages at 120% of the EU average. Highest prices were recorded in Denmark (148%), followed by Sweden (126%), Austria (123%), Luxembourg (121%) and lowest in Poland and Romania (both 62%)
Restaurants and hotel prices were also well above the EU average in Ireland in 2016 at 120% of the average or fourth highest in the EU. Prices were most expensive in Denmark (150%), Sweden (144%) and Finland (127%) and least expensive in Bulgaria (44%), Romania (53%) and the Czech Republic (56%).
Ireland was also above the average for clothing at 112%. Overall there was less disparity between prices for clothing in the EU with Sweden most expensive at 136% and Bulgaria lowest at 81%.
Ireland (111%) was joint third highest (with Finland) for the prices of personal transport equipment. Denmark (146%) was highest followed by the Netherlands (119%) while the Czech Republic (78%) was the lowest.
Ireland was on the EU average for consumer electronics (100%). In this area, prices were highest in Denmark (115%) and lowest in Poland (86%).