Jonas Hamers / ImageGlobe

Cost of living up by nearly 40% since the start of the millennium

According to figures released by the European statistics agency Eurostat, prices in the European Union have risen by 36.5% since the start of the new millennium. In Belgium prices have risen even more sharply, up 38.5% in the period between January 2000 and December 2017. Tobacco and alcoholic drinks saw the sharpest price rises.  

Although Eurostat describes the general rate of inflation as “moderate” the price of some produces has risen spectacularly during the period surveyed. For example, the price tobacco and alcoholic drinks went up by 92.1% in the EU as a whole. The rise in Belgium was more moderate at 74.8%.  

However, not only products that damage health saw sharp price rises. The cost of education rose by 91.2% in the EU as a whole and 69.2% in Belgium. The price of food and non-alcoholic drinks rose by 48.1% in Belgium between 2000 and 2017 and was up by 43.3% in the EU as a whole.

As regards housing, the price of mains water, electricity and gas as well as other fuel such as heating oil, there has been a rise of 57.2% in the as a whole and 56.1% here in Belgium.

Meanwhile, the price of a meal in a restaurant or a room in a hotel went up by 61% between the year 2000 and the end of last year. The price of communication apparatus, including mobile phones and smartphones, increased by 14.8% in Belgium during the same period. Meanwhile, the cost of transport (bus, tram and train tickets etc. went up by 39% here.  

Compared with those in the rest of Europe, Belgians have seen a relatively modest rise in the amount they pay for health care. While the cost of health care (visits to GPs, specialists or hospitals and the price of medicines) rose by 17.1% here, compared with 40.8% in the European Union as a whole.