COLA rates stay flat across most bases in Europe
With few exceptions, cost-of-living allowances given to U.S. troops stationed in Europe will stay flat through the end of December, according to a memo posted Monday on the Per Diem Transportation and Travel Allowance Committee Web site.
Only for those stationed at Vicenza and Livorno, Italy, and at Morón Air Base, Spain, will COLA rates creep up Tuesday, according to the memo announcing allowance changes. On average, the increase means about $25 more in COLA for the second half of December for these troops.
COLA rates across the continent have largely been in freefall since August, when the dollar began making significant gains against the euro and British pound.
But the dollar has been giving back some of those gains. Between Dec. 6 and Friday, the euro exchange rate offered at on-base banks worsened from $1.298 to $1.376.
The euro exchange rate used to calculate allowances, however, has worsened by only about 1.6 cents since the beginning of December, according to the memo. Exchange rates used to calculate allowances can be changed in the system only twice a month, and are generally determined about a week before the adjustment kicks in.
That means that if exchange rates either stabilize at current levels or worsen, most troops in Europe could expect allowance rates to increase at the start of January.