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Only Air Passengers Escape Surprise Price Hikes after EU Accession

The growth of prices after EU accession unpleasantly surprised both customers and analysts.

Growth was due to increased customs duties for products imported from outside the EU, like bananas, and increased VAT rates due to EU harmonization requirements.

In some cases prices grew more than expected because a number of producers and retailers passed on their cost increases to customers. Cars also became more expensive because Polish prices converged with European levels even though there are no common European prices.

In a few cases prices fell when, for example, in the cosmetics market, excise tax was lowered from 25 to 10%.

The cost of wines failed to fall when custom duties on those imported from America were lifted.

The only field where the consumers benefitted considerably was in air transport when several budget carriers appeared on the domestic market as a result of the EU open sky policy.

(WBJ 13.viii.04)

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