One third of EU countries see double-digit inflation
Consumer price growth has hit double digits in at least a third of EU countries, with the most severe spike seen in the Baltic region, the Financial Times reported this week.
According to the paper, nine members of the bloc have seen inflation surpass 10%, with the biggest increase observed in Estonia, where consumer prices have surged by 19% year-on-year.
Other badly affected countries are Lithuania with inflation at 16.8%, Bulgaria with 14.4%, the Czech Republic with 14.2%, along with Romania (13.8%), Latvia (13%), Poland (2.4%) and Slovakia (11.7%). The publication added that Turkey, which has had the status of an EU candidate since 1999, has an inflation rate of 70% due to the collapse of the national currency.
Also, recent media reports citing the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) say that inflation in Greece surged to double digits in April, amounting to 10.2% year-on-year.
Price growth in all these countries has been affected by Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, the Financial Times says, with inflation proportionate to each nation’s energy dependence on Russia. Sanctions against Russia and Moscow’s counter-measures have driven up fossil fuel prices globally.
Citing Eurostat data for 2020, the Financial Times saied that nearly all of Lithuania’s energy imports came from Russia, while in Slovakia and Greece, Russia’s share in energy supplies was almost 50%. Last month, Lithuania became the first EU state to scrap Russian gas imports, and on May 22 the country intends to stop importing electricity from Russia.
According to Eurostat, energy prices accounted for nearly half of the EU’s record inflation rate of 8.1% last month. The year prior, inflation in the bloc was a mere 2%.
Earlier this week, the European Commission unveiled the REPowerEU plan intended to “fast forward the green transition.” According to the scheme, Brussels will need €210 billion ($221 billion) to implement the changes by 2027, while the European Commission earlier estimated that an additional €195 billion ($205 billion) would have to be spent over this period to abandon Russian energy.
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