EU spent 27.2% of GDP on social protection


In the EU27, social protection expenditure accounted for 27.2% of GDP in 2005. In the EU25 this ratio was 27.4% in 2005, compared with 27.3% in 2004 and 27.4% in 2003, shows Eurostat report.

The EU27 average continued to mask major disparities between Member States, the data show.

Social protection expenditure as a percentage of GDP was above 30% in 2005 in Sweden (32.0%), France (31.5%) and Denmark (30.1%), and below 15% in Latvia (12.4%), Estonia (12.5%), Lithuania (13.2%) and Romania (14.2%). These disparities reflect differences in living standards, but are also indicative of the diversity of national social protection systems and of the demographic, economic, social and institutional structures specific to each Member State.

In the EU27 in 2005, expenditure on old age and survivors benefits accounted for 46% of total spending on social protection, sickness & health care benefits for 29%, disability benefits and family & children benefits for 8% each, unemployment benefits for 6% and housing & social exclusion benefits for 4%. The highest growth rates of social protection expenditure per capita, is marked in Romania, Ireland and Hungary.

Between 2000 and 2005, social protection expenditure per capita grew in real terms in all Member States for which data are available. The highest average annual growth rates were registered in Romania (10.9%), Ireland (9.3%) and Hungary (8.0%), while the lowest were found in Germany (0.2%), Slovakia and Austria (1.4%). The EU27 average was 2.1%. In 2005, social protection expenditure per capita in PPS (Purchasing Power Standards), which eliminates price level differences between countries, was more than ten times higher in Luxembourg, than in Romania. (1.3%)

The highest spending in PPS per capita was recorded in Luxembourg at more than twice the EU27 average, followed by Denmark and Sweden, both at 40% above the average. The lowest spending was found in Romania (18% of the EU27 average), Bulgaria (21%), Latvia (23%), Lithuania (26%) and Estonia (29%). According to Eurostat’s report the share of social contributions in funding ranges from 29% in Denmark to 84% in Slovakia.

In 2005, the two main sources of funding of social protection at EU27 level were general government contributions from taxes, making up 38% of total receipts, and social contributions (59%). These contributions are divided into those paid by the persons protected i.e. employees, self-employed persons and retired persons (21% of total receipts) and those paid by the employers (38%).

More than 70% of total receipts came from social contributions in Slovakia (84%), the Czech Republic (81%), Estonia (80%), Belgium and Romania (both 73%). Conversely, more than 50% of total receipts were made up of taxes in Denmark (63%), Ireland and Cyprus (both 54%), and the United Kingdom (51%).  (by Focus News)




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