Updated: Saturday, 14 December 2013 03:00 | By Agence France-Presse

Greece ranked sixth in EU's worst living conditions

Nearly one in five Greek households faced deprivation last year, ranking the country sixth in terms of the worst living conditions in the EU, state statistics agency ESYE said on Friday.

Greece ranked sixth in EU's worst living conditions

A picture taken on November 28, 2013 in Athens shows houses surrounding the acropolis hill

ESYE said that, in 2012, as the country's economic crisis gathered pace, 19.5 percent of the population had trouble obtaining a variety of basic goods and services.

"During the last five years (2008-2012) there is an increase in material deprivation in at least four out of nine categories of basic goods and services," the agency said.

"Specifically, 19.5 percent of the total population in 2012 faces financial burden" obtaining these goods and services, it said.

Basic needs include the ability to face unexpected financial expenses, afford a week's holiday away from home, eat meat every second day, heating one's home or purchase a home appliance.

This difficulty affected 76.3 of the poor population but also 30.8 percent of the non-poor, the survey found.

Greece descended into crisis in 2010 after concern over its fiscal figures pushed its borrowing costs through the roof, forcing the then-government to seek an EU-IMF rescue to avert bankruptcy.

In return, Athens was forced to adopt a strict austerity programme of state spending cuts and layoffs, wage cuts and tax hikes, and marked by soaring unemployment.

The top five European countries in terms of living standards are Switzerland, Sweden, Luxembourg, Norway and the Netherlands, ESYE said.

The bottom five are Bulgaria, Romania, Latvia, Hungary and Lithuania.

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