Tens of millions of East-Europeans suffer because of the growing prices for energy. Their homes are small ( "panel" / "panelka"), built during the communist era, but are poorly isolated, making upkeeping costs unaffordable, AFP comments. The agency discussed with families in Hungary, Bulgaria, Poland, Latvia, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, finding that they may pay up to half of their income just to have their houses heated during winter.

In Budapest, a family with both members aged 85 earns 326 Euros monthly. They pay 163 Euros the upkeeping fees during winter and 60 Euros during summer. There are 645,000 such apartments in Hungary.

In Bulgaria, half of the inhabitants of large cities live in "panels". A retired teacher earns 115 Euros per month and pays 75 Euros as maintenance fess during winter.

One third of the East Europeans live in such apartments, a bit over 30 million people.

Lithuania and the Czech Republic have a slightly better situation: in the first case, the average income is 570 Euros and the winter upkeep costs 165 Euros, while the Czechs earn some 952 Euros and pay only 69 Euros.