Consumer prices in Estonia rose by 79.5% between 2000 and 2017, more then twice the EU average of 36.5% and fifth in Europe, Eurostat, the European Commission’s statistical agency said.
Estonia was, according to the figures, well above the EU average in virtually all sectors, most notably alcohol and tobacco products, where prices in Estonia have increased by 147.2% over the 17-year period, compared with Finland, which saw only a 35.8% in price increase in this category over the time-frame.
However, even Estonia’s large inflation in the alcohol and tobacco sector was dwarfed by that of Romania (726.5%) over the same time period, with Bulgaria seeing a 408.8% increase and neighboring Latvia a 188.4% increase.
Romania also saw the largest overall increase in consumer prices in the EU at 257%, and Latvia was slightly higher than Estonia at 86.7% overall, 2000-2017.
Perhaps not surprisingly, all of the nations, which experienced large rates of inflation over the last 17 years, have come from the newer EU accession states; Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania all joined the EU in 2004, becoming Eurozone members later, in January 2011, 2014 and 2015 respectively. Romania and Bulgaria joined the EU in 2007; neither country is yet in the Eurozone although Bulgaria’s the Lev has been pegged to the Euro since the latter came into being in 1999.
Sectors where consumer price in Estonia were at or below the EU average were transport, at 39.7% increase (EU: 41.2%), telecommunications, which saw a fall in consumer price of 29.3% (21.7%), and education at 12.6% increase (91.2%). In education, Estonia in fact saw the smallest rise in consumer prices in the EU after Sweden at 9.5%.
Recent years have seen government-imposed excise increases in alcohol sales in Estonia. (ERR/Business World Magazine)