Survey to reveal price differences across the EU
A TRUE picture of Ireland's prices compared to other EU states will be revealed under a new initiative.
The EU Consumer Watch is being carried out by Eurostat, and the resulting data will be published in a transparent scoreboard format.
The programme will start by analysing prices in the financial services sector and in consumer goods like cameras, CDs and books.
Existing research shows that the price of digital cameras can vary by up to 30pc between neighbouring European countries, and that the average fees for the management of bank accounts fluctuates by up to €80 across the EU.
Irish consumers can already compare domestic prices through a range of websites like www.shoppingbill.com, www.valueireland.com and www.ripoffrepublic.com, and the Fine Gael-run site www.ripoff.ie.
Dermot Jewell, CEO of the Consumers' Association, said the survey will be of huge benefit to consumers, but warned that prices must be stripped down to pre and post-VAT figures.
Fine Gael MEP Gay Mitchell also welcomed the independent monitoring of the market.