In 2018, social protection was the most important area for government expenditure in all the EU member states, however the share of these expenditures to the GDP significantly varies between 24.1 percent in Finland and 9 percent in Ireland, data released by Eurostat on Thursday showed.
According to the data, five member states (Finland, France, Denmark, Italy and Austria) have allocated at least 20 percent of the GDP for social protection in 2018, whereas Ireland, Malta, Latvia, Romania, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic have spent less than 12 percent of the GDP for social protection. In Romania, the share of social protection expenses to the GDP stood at 11 percent, below the 19.2 percent average registered at the EU level.
Social protection expenditures can be broken down into a number of detailed groups. The group of "old people" which includes pensions accounted for 10.4 percent of the GDP in the EU, in 2018. In all the member states, this group represents the most important part of social protection expenditure, however the share varies between 13.6 percent of the GDP in Finland and 3.2 percent of the GDP in Ireland. Romania allocated 8.6 percent of the GDP for pensions.
In terms of government expenditures for health, Denmark ranks first in the EU, a country which allocated 8.3 percent of the GDP in 2018, followed by Austria (8.2 percent) and France (8.1 percent). At the opposite pole there is Cyprus (2.7 percent), Latvia (4 percent) and Romania (4.7 percent), countries situated below the 7 percent averaged registered in the EU.
Sweden ranks first in the EU in terms of the share of expenditures for education (6.9 percent), with Romania and Ireland ranking last with 3.2 percent of the GDP allocated in 2018 for education, below the 4.6 percent average in the EU.
Romania stands at exactly the same level as the EU average when it comes to the share of government spending on environmental protection. In 2018, the 27 EU member states allocated approximately 106 billion euro of government spending on environmental protection, the equivalent to 0.8 percent of the GDP.
According to Eurostat, Italy, Romania and Slovakia each allocated 0.8 percent of the GDP for environmental protection in 2018.