13.02.2008 - 09:30 CET The bustling metropolis that is inner London has been declared the richest region in the European union. People living in Britain's capital are on average three times wealthier than the rest of the EU. On the other end of the scale, however, the bloc's poorest live in Bulgaria and Romania.
The average gross domestic product (GDP) per head in central London comes in at around € 67,798 – which is 303 percent of the EU average of €22,400, according to a Eurostat study published on Tuesday (12 February).
London is followed in the ranking by Luxembourg (GDP per head of €59,202 or 264 percent of the EU average), Brussels (GDP of €53,876), Hamburg in Germany (GDP of €45,271), Vienna in Austria (GDP of €39,774) and Ile-de-France in France (GDP of €38,666).
By contrast, the top ten of the EU's poorest regions is split equally between five Bulgarian and five Romanian regions, followed by Poland's Lubelskie and Podkarpackie – with GDP per head levels at €7,839 and €7,927 respectively.
In some Bulgarian and Romanian regions, people are almost four times poorer than the average EU standard.
Those living in north-east Romania have GDP per head levels of just €5,430 – or 24 percent of the EU average, and in Bulgaria's north-west region the GDP per head is €6,023 – around 27 percent of the EU average.
Along with the wide differences among member states, the survey also confirms large variations among the regions within the different EU countries.
People living in Italy's southern region of Campania have an average GDP per head of €14,979 compared to those living in the northern regions of Lombardy (€30,567) or Bolzano (€30,613).
The Eurostat data are based on 2005 figures of GDP per inhabitant, which have been adjusted to take into account the differences in national price levels.