NEWS

Greeks digging deeper

Greeks pay more on average for basic goods than do the French, British and Germans, according to a new survey which places Greece as the seventh most expensive country among the 15 EU members before last year’s enlargement. According to the survey, compiled by market analysts AC Nielsen and measuring the prices of 100 identical daily goods and foodstuffs sold in shops around Europe, Greeks paid almost 15 percent more for their shopping than did consumers in Germany, which was found to be the cheapest country among those surveyed. The poll was conducted between May 2002 and June 2003. Greece adopted the euro on January 1, 2002. In some cases, such as that of a well-known brand of detergent, Greeks paid 54 percent more than Germans did. However, some goods remain substantially cheaper in Greece than in other EU countries, such as one brand-name shampoo which was 58 percent cheaper in Greece than in the Netherlands. Overall, though, the price of goods in Greece was more than one percentage point higher than the average among countries using the euro, even though Greeks earn among the lowest wages in the eurozone. Denmark, a non-eurozone country, was found to be the EU’s most expensive member-state and, on average, almost 35 percent dearer than Greece. This report comes hot on the heels of a European Union survey last month, which found that Athenians have been forced to fork out increasingly higher sums on consumer goods over the past five years. The survey showed that between 1999 and 2004, Athenians had to spend more on clothing and footwear than any of their counterparts in other European capitals. In several other categories, such as food and tobacco, the poll found that Athenians’ outlay had increased more steeply than that of other capitals’ inhabitants.