Luxembourg still EU's wealthiest, figures show
By Benjamin Fox
Luxembourg still has the wealthiest citizens in Europe, according to data released Thursday by Eurostat (12 December).
Data published by the EU's statistical office found that GDP per person in the Grand Duchy in 2012 was more than twice as high as in second-ranked Austria.
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For its part, Austria leap-frogged over the Netherlands, which was one of six countries - Finland, France, Italy, Cyprus and Greece being the others - to see a decline in their citizens' purchasing power.
Meanwhile, at the other end of the scale, Romania and Bulgaria remain the bloc's poorest countries, with per person GDP standing at less than half the EU average.
The Purchasing Power Standard (PPS) eliminates price differences between EU countries so that one PPS can buy the same goods and services across the 28 countries.
People in the EU's crisis countries have seen the biggest drop off in purchasing power and consumption.
Greece has seen the biggest fall in purchasing power in recent years. Its GDP index has fallen from 88 in 2010 to 75 in 2012, pushing it 25 percent lower than the EU average. Cyprus, too, saw its index fall for the third year in a row to 92.
However, Ireland, which will officially exit its €67.5 billion bailout programme next week, bucks the trend. In 2012, Irish per capita GDP stood unchanged at 129, making them the third richest country in Europe. But Ireland's financial difficulties have been reflected in people's willingness to spend their money. Individual consumption by Irish people fell for the third year in a row to 98, just below the EU average.
Outside the EU, both Norway and Switzerland have living standards that are well above the EU average, while Turkey is the wealthiest EU candidate country.