Despite people struggling to make ends meet, Belgians have sixth-highest income in EU

The latest Eurostat figures show that Belgium has the sixth highest average salary in the EU, the Brussels Times reported on Monday. Despite this, many Belgians face significant financial challenges.

The study found that the median disposable income - income remaining after all taxes have been paid - per person in Belgium was 27,314 euros in 2022, well above the EU average of 19,083 euros. Belgium far outperformed neighbouring countries, with incomes exceeding those of Germany (25,000 euros) and France (23,053 euros).

Luxembourg had the highest salaries in the EU at 45,310 euros, followed by Denmark (33,260 euros) and the Netherlands (29,537 euros). Bulgaria (5,378 euros) had the lowest earnings, with Romania (5,512 euros) and Hungary (6,975 euros) in second and third place.

Purchasing power standards

The report also considered purchasing power standards, an economic measure that adjusts for price differences between countries. Belgium ranked fourth in the EU with a median income of 24 142, behind Luxembourg (33,214), the Netherlands (25,437) and Austria (25,119).

However, a survey by consumer rights group Test Achats this year found that 27 per cent of Belgians had no money left to save at the end of the month, up from 25 per cent in April last year. It also found that 57 per cent considered their financial situation to be "significantly worse" than in 2021, and one in eight had recently asked friends and family for help to make ends meet.

Recent studies also paint a relatively pessimistic economic outlook for Belgium. In September, the Central Economic Council (CEC) estimated that wages would rise less than previously expected next year compared with neighbouring countries.

Specifically, it predicted that salaries in Belgium would rise by 1. 7 per cent by the end of 2024, compared to a reference year of 1996, which is significantly lower than the almost three times higher growth (4. 6 per cent) predicted last year.

The CEC's report preceded another analysis published last month by the International Monetary Fund, which predicted that inflation in Belgium, which eats away at citizens' real incomes, would rise from 2. 5 per cent this year to more than 4 per cent in 2024.



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