NEWS

Big spenders on health, education

Greeks spend much more money than all other citizens of EU-member states on health and education, splurge on restaurant meals, watch a lot of television and are not keen on newspapers, according to the results of an EU-wide poll released yesterday. The Eurobarometer survey found that the average Greek spends about 6 percent of his annual income on hospital care and medicine, in addition to what he has already paid in taxes and social security payments. This is about twice the EU average. And although the right to free, state education is enshrined in the constitution, in practice, the average Greek pays almost three times as much on his children’s education as the average EU citizen. This amounts to 2.5 percent of his annual income. Based on per capita income, Greece is the poorest member of the 15-state EU. Nevertheless, the poll found that the country has one of the highest rates of expenditure on eating out, which activity accounts for 8.3 percent of the average Greek’s income. On the other hand, Greeks come second to last as far as expenditures on books, cinema and theater-going is concerned, on which they spend 4.5 percent of their income. And Greeks come second only to the Luxembourgers in television attendance, on which they lavish an average 227 minutes of their lives every day. At the same time, less than 20 percent of the Greek population reads the daily press. The survey also found that Greeks, above all other EU nationals, are dissatisfied with their homes, which they find noisy, badly built, poorly heated, cramped and dark.