Austria has the least people who had to skip holidays, while Romania had the most

Cost of living crisis leaves millions of EU citizens unable to go on holidays

Cost of living crisis leaves millions of EU citizens unable to go on holidays

According to the European Trade Union Confederation, workers need a pay rise or politicians and employers risk facing a winter of discontent

On Monday, the European Trade Union Confederation published a study, showing that more and more working European citizens cannot afford to go on holiday. The study focused on data from 2017 to 2020 and while 2019 was a good year for would-be vacationers, in 2020, the number of people who could not afford a vacation rose in most countries.

At the same time, according to an official statement by the organisation, the cost of living crisis gripping the EU in 2022 will definitely exacerbate the already burdened working population. An increased number of people are reporting that they struggle to make ends meet, which puts holiday planning even further out of reach for millions of Europeans.

The holiday gap in numbers

According to researchers, there are around 38 million EU citizens who could not afford to go on holiday in 2020, roughly 8% of the total population of the Bloc. At the same time, country data reveals regional disparities. On average, Eastern and Southern countries report a higher share of people who skip holidays, as opposed to their Western and Nordic counterparts.

This is especially visible in Romania, Greece and Lithuania, the countries with the highest reported share of unaffordability. Romania is at number one with a frightening 47% followed by Greece at 43% and Lithuania at 41%. In the case of Lithuania, the number of people who could not afford to go on holiday grew the most from 2019 to 2020, as in the previous year it was at 28%.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the country with the most people who can afford to go on holiday was Austria, where only 7.2% of the population was in this situation. This opinion was echoed by a 2021 study from the Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies.

Said study claimed that Austrians have the most money in the EU to spend on consumer goods and services outside of the basics, such as housing, transport, education and healthcare.

After Austria, the countries with the lowest number of people who could not afford to go on holiday in 2020 were Denmark (7.5%) and Finland (7.7%).

Europe needs a pay raise

European Trade Union Confederation points out that holidays should not be a luxury, as they are a vital part of workers’ wellbeing. A spokesman for the EUTC was quoted explaining that companies have registered record profits during the pandemic, while inequality is on the rise. As they put it, without a decent pay rise, employers and politicians will find they return from their own summer holidays to face an autumn of anger followed by a winter of discontent.



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