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Government expenditure in the EU: 48.1% of GDP

Jul 7, 2015 | News

(07 July 2015) – In 2014, total general government expenditure amounted to €6 701 bn in the European Union. This represented almost half (48.1%) of EU GDP in 2014, compared with 48.6% in 2013. The function ‘social protection’ was by far the most important.

In the euro area, the share stood at 49.0% in 2014 (49.4% in 2013). Among EU Member States, general government expenditure varied in 2014 from less than 35% of GDP in Lithuania and Romania to more than 57% in Finland, France and Denmark.

A detailed breakdown of general government expenditure by main functions is available for 2013. In the EU, the function ‘social protection’ was by far the most important, accounting for 40.2% of total general government expenditure.

The next most important areas in terms of general government expenditure were ‘health’ (14.8%), ‘general public services’ such as external affairs and public debt transactions (14.1%), ‘education’ (10.3%) and ‘economic affairs’ (8.8%).

The functions ‘public order and safety’ (3.7%), ‘defence’ (2.9%), ‘recreation, culture and religion’ (2.2%), ‘environmental protection’ (1.7%) and ‘housing and community amenities’ (1.4%) had more limited weights.

This data at EU level mask however significant differences between the EU Member States regarding both the share and the ranking of each function of general government expenditure.

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