Understandably, concerns over the middle classes’ loss of purchasing power are increasing in Europe. In Spain, runaway inflation rates (4.1% in 2007) and wage restraint (it is the only OECD country that has reduced its average salary between 1995 and 2005), caused an increase in the income gap between the richest and poorest citizens, according to figures from the ‘Employment Outlook 2007’ report.
In France, the great debate that has the attention of all the media, aside from the love affairs of the president, is the ‘purchasing power’, for which the entire government has been assembled. Italy, submerged in an economic and political depression, is driven to despair with the increase in prices since its switchover to the euro. Similarly, Portugal, whose economy is based on cheap manual labour, has not managed to succeed.
The new test, according to the last report by Mercer Human Resources Consulting, is that Europe is making itself into a continent that is inaccessible for its own citizens. Twenty-seven of the fifty cities with the highest costs of living are in Europe. At the top is London, the most expensive city in the world, followed by Moscow. cafebabel.com has local teams in nine of these cities.
Map of Europe with the cities with the highest costs of living
Click on the icons to see the position of each city on the list of the 27 most expensive European cities to live in