Sunday

28th May 2017

Prague and Bratislava richer than most old EU states

  • The Eurovea shopping mall in Bratislava (Photo: theodevil)

The Prague region in the Czech Republic and the Bratislava region in Slovakia are among the richest in the EU. But by and large, the bloc still suffers from a massive east-west income gap.

EU figures out on Thursday (24 February) show that people in Prague have a GDP per capita measured in terms of purchasing power for locally-priced goods and services (PPS) of €43,200 and in Bratislava of €41,800.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The levels are not high compared to Europe's traditional centres of wealth - inner London (€85,800), Luxembourg (€70,000) and Brussels (€54,100).

But with the former Communist and Soviet member states still often seen as the poor cousins of long-term EU members, the Czech and Slovak capitals are richer than any part of Austria, Greece, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Portugal or Spain.

The Prague region was already the 12th wealthiest in the EU just after enlargement in 2005. But six years ago Bratislava had a GDP per capita, PPS of €33,124 and was not even in the EU top 15.

The fresh numbers come as the EU gears up for another major redistribution of wealth in the 2014 to 2020 EU budget, with former Communist countries worried that the richer west will be less inclined to largesse than in the past due to the economic crisis.

They also come amid a debate on living standards caused by the EU-IMF bail-outs for Greece and Ireland.

With Germans complaining that they are being made to foot the bill for Greek and Irish profligacy, the figures show that southern and eastern Ireland (€37,000) is much richer than many parts of Germany. And with Slovakia last year opting out of the EU bail-out for Greece on grounds of relative penury, they show that the richest part of Greece (€28,300) lags far behind the Slovak capital.

The old truths are still true in terms of the overall east-west divide, however.

The 15 poorest regions in the EU are all in former Communist countries. Bulgaria and Romania dominate the low end of the table, followed by Poland and Hungary. The poorest region in the whole bloc - Severozapaden in Bulgaria - has a GDP per capita, PPS of just €7,100, meaning that people there are 10 times less well-off in real terms than those in London.

Putting the numbers into a broader perspective, the poorest people in the world in absolute terms are in Burundi, which has a GDP per capita of €121, according to the World Bank. The richest are in the tiny EU tax havens of Monaco (over €150,000) and Liechtenstein (over €100,000).

Correction: this story was amended at 12.15 Brussels time on 25 February to take out a mistake about relative Irish-German wealth

Dieselgate casts doubt over low emission zones

Many European cities use low emission zones, and some are considering to ban dirty cars. But there are limits to how well the EU standards can be used to determine which cars are clean.

A world without waste

A garbage crisis in Naples, Italy, gave birth to the "zero waste" movement, but is the rest of Europe brave enough to change the way it thinks about trash?

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNICEFChild Alert on Myanmar: Fruits of Rapid Development yet to Reach Remote Regions
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersBecome an Explorer - 'Traces of Nordic' Seeking Storytellers Around the World
  3. Malta EU 2017Closer Cooperation and Reinforced Solidarity to Ensure Security of Gas Supply
  4. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceHigh-Intensity Interval Training Is Therapeutic Option for Type 2 Diabetes
  5. Dialogue Platform"The West Must Help Turkey Return to a Democratic Path" a Call by Fethullah Gulen
  6. ILGA-EuropeRainbow Europe 2017 Is Live - Which Countries Are Leading on LGBTI Equality?
  7. Centre Maurits CoppietersWhen You Invest in a Refugee Woman You Help the Whole Community
  8. Eurogroup for AnimalsECJ Ruling: Member States Given No Say on Wildlife Protection In Trade
  9. European Heart NetworkCall for Urgent Adoption of EU-Wide Nutrient Profiles for Nutrition & Health Claims
  10. Counter BalanceInvestment Plan for Europe More Climate Friendly but European Parliament Shows Little Ambition
  11. Mission of China to the EUPresident Xi: China's Belt and Road Initiative Benefits People Around the World
  12. Malta EU 2017EU Strengthens Control of the Acquisition and Possession of Firearms