Ireland is the most expensive country to buy alcohol in the EU 3 years ago

Ireland is the most expensive country to buy alcohol in the EU

The report compared 28 Member States across the European Union.

In a recent study compiled by the EU statistical office Eurostat, figures show that alcohol and tobacco in the European Union are at their most expensive in Ireland.

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The report, which compares a number of goods and services between EU states, found that although price levels for alcoholic beverages and tobacco across Europe showed significant variations, Ireland undeniably came out on top.

The price survey covered more than 2400 consumer goods and services across the 28 EU Member States.

The lowest alcohol price level in 2017 was registered in Bulgaria (56% of the average), just ahead of Romania (69%) and Hungary (70%).

At the opposite end of the scale, the highest prices were observed in Ireland (174%) and the United Kingdom (157%), followed at a distance by the three Nordic EU Member States – Finland (139%), Sweden (127%) and Denmark (123%).

This large price variation is mainly due to differences in taxation of these products among Member States.

Patricia Callan of the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland (DIGI) and Director of ABFI, commented on Eurostat's figures, mentioning that tax has a huge part to play.

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“Our high excise tax is an anti-competitive tax on one of Ireland’s largest employers and fastest-growing industries.

“Today’s figures show definitively that Ireland’s price levels vary significantly and that our excise rates are completely out of kilter with our European peers. This is yet another reminder that action is needed now. Ultimately, high levels of excise are a tax on businesses and a sector that contributes significantly to the Irish economy in terms of jobs, particularly in rural Ireland. It is also a penal recession-era tax on consumers which needs to be reversed.

“DIGI, through its Support Your Local campaign, is calling on the Government to take special notice of Ireland’s drinks and hospitality sector as it formulates Budget 2019 and will be seeking a reduction in our high excise tax rate to support the continued growth and development of this industry."

Consumer electronics, however, are at their cheapest in Ireland in comparison to Member States.

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This is a group that also varied widely across the 28 countries, ranging from 86% of the average in Ireland to 110% in Denmark and France.

Clothing is another market showing a smaller price disparity among Member States, with Bulgaria (80% of the average) cheapest and Sweden (134%) most expensive.

With the noticeable exception of Denmark (144% of the average) and the Netherlands (121%), price differences among Member States were also limited for personal transport equipment, from 81% in Slovakia to 111% in Finland, Ireland and Portugal.