Hungary almost the poorest country in the EU
According to 24.hu, based on a Eurostat report, Bulgaria remained the poorest country in the EU. However, Hungary is in the last quarter of the list both in GDP per capita and actual individual consumption (AIC). Luxembourg is unquestionably the richest country of the EU as it was in the previous year. Not surprisingly, more and more Eastern-Europeans, for example, Hungarians move to Western-Europe for higher salaries. Therefore, biggest Hungarian opposition party Jobbik says that without wage union Eastern-Europe will become empty. Economists state that equal pay for equal work is a necessity for the EU to survive.
Hungary and other Eastern-European countries fell behind in all categories
In fact, GDP per capita decreased by 1% while AIC did not change compared to 2015 in Hungary. If we take the average of the union 100% GDP per capita was 105% and AIC was 106% in the Eurozone last year. Clearly, Eurozone citizens can spend and buy much more than their non-Eurozone counterparts.
In fact, GDP per capita was 258% of the EU-average in the richest country, Luxembourg. Second place goes to Ireland with 183% while
last place belongs to Bulgaria with only 49% of the EU-average.
GDP per capita exceeded EU-average in 11 countries: alongside Luxembourg and Ireland the Netherlands (128%), Austria (128%) and Sweden (123%) can be found here. In addition, this list includes Germany (123%), Belgium (118%), Finland (109%), Great-Britain (107%) and France (104%).
Furthermore, GDP per capita was lower by a maximum of 30% in 10 countries. These are: Italy (97%), Malta (96%), Spain (92%), Czech Republic (88%), Slovenia (83%). Additionally, there is Cyprus (83%), Portugal (77%), Slovakia (77%), Lithuania (75%) and finally, Estonia (75%).
Among the remaining seven countries GDP per capita was a minimum of 30% or lower than the EU-average. Poland and Greece go with 68% while Hungary with 67%. In fact, Latvia (65%), Croatia (60%), Romania (58%) and Bulgaria (49%) stand at the end of the list.
Hungary at the end of AIC list, as well
Clearly, GDP per capita is often used as to demonstrate the well-being of a country. However, it is not always suitable to show the general living standards of the households. Thus, actual
individual consumption (AIC) is more adequate
for the latter aim.
From an AIC point of view, Luxembourg still holds its first place with 132% of EU-average. At the same time, Bulgaria is the last one with reaching only 53% of EU-average. There are 10 countries above the average: Germany (122%), Austria (119%), Great-Britain (116 %), Finland (114 %), Denmark (113%). In addition, there is Belgium (112%), France (111%), the Netherlands (111%) and Sweden (110%).
In the category of maximum 30% lower than the average there are 13 countries. These are: Italy (98%), Ireland (96%), Cyprus (91%), Spain (89%), Lithuania (85%), Portugal (82%), Malta (81%), Czech Republic (78%), Greece (77%), Slovakia (76%), Slovenia (76%), Poland (74%) and Estonia (72%).
In fact, Latvia leads the remaining 5 member states below the 30% line with a 67% of the EU-average. Hungary (63%), Romania (61%), Croatia (59%) and Bulgaria (53%) follow the Baltic country.
Might wage union be a solution?
Clearly, the depressing results mark the main cause of a never before seen internal migration between EU member states.
While Eastern-European countries become empty due to low salaries, Western-European countries profit from the incoming skilled labour force.
The sorrowful results are broken families, grandchildren unable to communicate with grandparents, labour shortage and, as a result, hindered economic growth in the East. In addition, cheaper Eastern-European workers lower salaries in Western-Europe thus, local people receive less.
A solution could be the wage union, for both problems, which aims to raise Eastern-European wages to a Western-European level. As a result, fewer would go abroad for higher salaries, so labour shortage would not hinder economic growth. At least, this is the opinion shared by many economists and the biggest Hungarian opposition party, Jobbik. Thus, Jobbik started a European citizen’s initiative and aims to collect 1 million signatures to be able to bring the issue to the table of the European Commission. However,
due to political reasons, the Hungarian government does not support the initiative.