Lagging per capita income
Greece’s per capita income stood at 77.6 percent of the European Union average in 2002, according to Eurostat data released in Brussels yesterday. This places Greece in 14th position among the 15 old members, above Portugal’s 76.7 percent, and in 15th place among the present 25 members, below Cyprus’s 82.9 percent. The three wealthiest regions in the EU are London, with a per capita income of 315 percent of the average, Brussels with 235 percent, and Luxembourg with 213 percent. The three poorest, with averages ranging from 32 to 36 percent, belong to Poland. Five of Greece’s 13 regions have a per capita income below 75 percent of the EU average, and therefore qualify for investment subsidies under the Fourth Community Support Framework program which will run from next year until 2012. These are the Ionian Islands, Thessaly, Epirus, Eastern Macedonia and Thrace, and Western Greece. Central Greece has the highest per capita income among Greek regions, with 108.9 percent of the EU average, followed by the Southern Aegean (91 percent), Attica (82.3 percent), Western Macedonia (80.6 percent), the Northern Aegean (79.3 percent) and Central Macedonia (78.9 percent). Crete, with 75.1 percent, and the Peloponnese, with 77.3, are the nearest to the threshold criterion. Thirty-seven regions of the EU have a per capita income higher than 125 percent of the average, most of them in the UK, Germany and Italy. Only one of them is in a new EU member, Prague, with 153 percent. Among member states per se, Luxembourg has the highest per capita income, with 213 percent of the average, followed by Ireland with 132.7 percent, Denmark with 122.5 percent, and the Netherlands with 122.1 percent. Latvia, Lithuania and Poland are the laggards, with respective rates of 39, 42.4 and 45.6 percent of the EU average.