Europeans are becoming richer and richer – but not all of them.

During the past few years, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Iceland, the Baltic States, and Kosovo have been among the countries which have managed to boost their populations‘ purchasing power (in €) by the widest margin in percentage terms. In contrast, the largest nominal € losses between 2010 and 2015 have been registered in Greece and Cyprus (debt crisis), Ukraine and Russia (military conflict), as well as Belarus.
However, even countries with nominal increases of up to 10%, such as Italy, Spain, or Hungary, still had to contend with economic difficulties. In real terms, i.e. with inflation taken into account, purchasing power decreased or stagnated in these countries.
Two special cases are also among the countries with nominal increases of between 10% and 25%: in both Turkey and Serbia, high rates of inflation ate up these gains and have resulted in decreased purchasing power in real terms.
Kosovo has experienced high relative growth rates, such that purchasing power has since caught up to that of Albania. However, since the country’s purchasing power was low to begin with, the gains have been similarly small in absolute terms. Highly positive development has been observed also in the Baltic States as well as Iceland.
Although the United Kingdom and Switzerland have registered purchasing power increases in their national currencies, the high rates of growth in € are mostly an effect of exchange rate levels. These levels are likely to remain relatively stable for the Swiss franc, but following the Brexit vote, absolute purchasing power in € in the United Kingdom is expected to be much lower for 2016.

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