Nearly 21% of Bulgarians have a problem paying their bills on time, according to an Eurostat study. Bulgaria and Romania are again the countries in the EU in the first place, indicating material difficulties. Romania is almost at the level of Greece – nearly 17 per cent, but in Bulgaria the indicators are worse.
The results are not unexpected – for years the Balkan countries have had problems with low incomes and the difficult exit from the economic crisis. Against this background it is not surprising the relatively high proportion of bad loans compared to Western and Northern Europe. Overdue receivables further exacerbate financial problems and the availability of liquidity and creditors and debtors.
This means that they cannot afford at least four of the following items, which are considered by most people to be desirable or necessary to lead an adequate life: pay their bills on time; keep their home adequately warm; face unexpected expenses; eat meat (or fish or the vegetarian equivalent) regularly; take a one week holiday away from home; a TV; a washing machine; a car; a telephone.
In contrast, the severe material deprivation rates were below 2.5 % in Sweden (1.1 % in 2017), Luxembourg (1.2 % in 2017) and the Netherlands (2.4%). The 2018 data reflect the continued downward trend in the proportion of people severely materially deprived in the EU since the peak of 9.9 % in 2012. The largest decreases were registered in Bulgaria (from 30.0 % in 2017 to 20.9 % in 2018, or -9.1 pp), followed by Greece (from 21.1 % to 16.7 %, or -4.4 pp).
Single adult households are most affected. The rate of severe material deprivation for households with only one adult is 9.1 % if the household has no dependent children. It stands at 13.2 % for a household comprised of a single adult with children. For households where two or more adults are present, the rates are significantly lower: 4.4 % without children and 5.7 % with children.
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