Troops’ COLA down or flat across Europe
Stars and Stripes May 17, 2008
Cost-of-living allowances paid to U.S. troops dipped slightly Friday in nearly every European locale that uses the euro after the dollar rebounded in recent weeks.
In Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain, the COLA dropped by a little less than 5 percent across the board.
Because the drop is so small and the next pay period covers one more day than the period that just ended, troops are unlikely to notice the drop in their pay. Nevertheless, the average troop’s COLA dropped by about $1.65 per day.
The Per Diem, Travel and Transportation Allowances Committee left allowance rates steady in Portugal’s Azores and all across the United Kingdom, where rates dipped two weeks ago as the pound fell against the dollar.
Still, in every European locale with a significant U.S. troop presence besides the Azores, allowance rates are higher than they are in the U.K.
The dollar-to-euro exchange rate is just about where it was two weeks ago, but is more than three cents better than it was more than a month ago, when COLA rates in most areas were at about the same level they’ve now fallen back to.
In Italy, data from a retail price survey taken in February also factored into the COLA cut, according to the Per Diem committee.
An E-6 with two dependents and eight years’ time in service can expect roughly $457 in COLA in his end-of-month pay if stationed in Lakenheath, England; $616 if stationed in Schinnen, Netherlands; $514 if stationed at Vicenza, Italy; $668 at Naples; and $514 across most of Germany.
Unexpectedly strong first-quarter economic growth in Germany and U.S. data showing a slowdown in U.S. industrial production pushed the euro higher Thursday, according to The Associated Press.
If that trend continues, COLA rates in euro countries could rebound at the beginning of June.