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The Cappuccino Index: EU membership costs citizens less than a cup of coffee per day, claims…

Brussels started 2018 with a bold, simple claim: Membership of the European Union is great value because it costs citizens less than a cup of coffee a day. As Jean-Claude Juncker moves aggressively to expand the post-Brexit EU budget, POLITICO put the claim to the test.

While there are huge, surprising differences in how much Europeans in different countries pay to the EU, the union costs citizens less than half a cup of coffee daily — and as little as a tenth of a cup — in most of the 28 member countries.

In this new “EU Coffee Index,” POLITICO ranks each member country, using the EU’s own statistics, according to how much citizens pay the EU (so disregarding money each country receives back such as regional or research funding), and how much coffee (with milk) that costs them. It factors in the U.K.’s budget rebate and the other national budget adjustments connected with it.

If you think Germans pay the EU bills, you’re wrong. The EU costs Germans €0.84 euros a day per person, barely half the price Luxembourgers pay: €1.57 every day.

Italians may find the EU’s coffee comparison the least appealing: Thanks to the cheap coffee in Italy, the EU ends up costing Italians just over half a cup per day (0.56 to be precise).

Belgium is the only other country where the EU costs the population more than half a cup of coffee a day.

Brexiteers are also in for bad news: The U.K. gets a better deal than most EU countries in terms of both cash and coffee.

Bulgaria gets the best EU deal, paying just €0.18 per day — equivalent to 0.17 of a cup of coffee.

For a country suffering a decade of austerity, Greece really suffers on the coffee front, with an average cappuccino costing €2.91. The flipside of that raw deal is that the EU costs Greeks the least amount of coffee of any EU country: just 0.15 cups per day. (full story:

Here are a few notes:
1. Coffee with milk is not cappuccino
2. Price for cappuccino to go is 1.70 euro in Greece. It was cheaper but price rose due to extra tax on the coffee since 1.1.2017.
3. Greeks have paid and will be paying billions of euro for the privilege to remain in the EU
4. In contrast to technocrats in Brussels, many citizens across Europe cannot afford even a cup of coffee per day

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  1. A few cups of coffee are healthier than membership in the EU.

  2. Martin Baldwin-Edwards

    As usual, all politicians and journalists gets basic statistics wrong. These data are specifically raw data on country contribution to the EU budget, per capita. They do not show (a) the nett cost/benefit to each country per capita — which is very different; or (b) each country’s contribution (gross) to the EU budget. In the case of (b), you have to multiply each country’s data in the above chart by that country’s population. Since Luxemboug is tiny and Germany has a massive population, Germany does in fact pay far more than any other EU country — in gross payments. But as noted in point (a), this is trivial anyway. What matters is to overall accounting — the nett effect. Countries like the UK which receive massive amounts in EU funds (and Greece also) have either roughly neutral nett costs or even negative costs, i.e. gains.

    In the Brexit debate, the nationalist right chose to cite fraudulent data on the putative “costs” of EU membership, in order to argue for Brexit. Even after these lies were exposed, the right wing crook who is Foreign Secretary has chosen to repeat the lies and even expand on them. These people rely on the limited understanding by ordinary voters of complex issues of statistical data — in order to trick them. The same happens with debates about global warming and tobacco-cancer links, to name just two.

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