NEWS

European prices here

A study by Kathimerini of popular consumer items and services in five European countries has put paid to the myth that Greece is a cheap country. It shows that with the single European currency prices too have converged. The report compared 80 consumer items and basic services (such as a visit to a private doctor) in Greece, Italy, Germany, Belgium and non-eurozone member Britain. It provided evidence that prices in Athens are very much like those in Rome, London, Munich and Brussels. Basics, such as bread, yogurt, sweets, coffee, sugar, newspapers, and other items, are almost identical price-wise in other European countries, even though incomes in the countries in question are much larger than those in Greece. The official average income (in other words, not including the black economy) in Greece is estimated at 70 percent of the EU average, which raises the issue of the need for «convergence» in salaries. But an immediate increase in the level of wages would lead to the destruction of the Greek economy. This convergence of prices and divergence of incomes with the rest of Europe shows the deficiency in productivity and competitiveness which is the Achilles’ heel of the economy. We will publish the report in full tomorrow. Palestinians protested outside the Israeli embassy yesterday afternoon, urging Greece to begin an initiative.