People across Europe struggle to pay bills amid cost of living crisis
It started with energy inflation, but Europe’s cost of living crisis has now spread to all sectors and is affecting all of the continent and further afield.
The problem has many components but the one that most concerns political leaders and affects households the most is food price inflation.
In February, gas prices in Europe fell to their lowest level in almost 18 months, however, food prices are continuing their upward trend.
In January, food prices across the European Union rose by an average of 18.4% compared to a year ago.
Hungary emerged as the 'champion' of food price hikes (48.2%), followed by Lithuania (32%) and then Slovakia (28.6%).
The lowest price increases were recorded in Switzerland (5,8%) and Cyprus (10,3%).
The impact of the cost of living crisis is the most serious threat to the global community according to the World Economic Forum's 2023 Risk Report.
Food prices go up they increase food insecurity and raise social tensions. They also strain the budgets of governments struggling with rising food import bills and diminished capacity to fund extra social protection for the most vulnerable.
The crisis has led to street protests in many European countries and strikes in others such as the UK where public sector workers are at loggerheads with the government over wages and working conditions.