Greece first among EU28 in spending for pension; in last places for health, education

19 March 2019
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State spending in Greece, as a percentage of GDP, is the sixth highest amongst European Union countries, according to figures released on Tuesday by Eurostat.

In determining where the spending is funneled, the figures show that, despite three successive bailouts for the country, the Greek state continues to under-fund sectors deemed as vital in quality of life indexes and for its very future.

One of the more ominous findings is that the Greek state is in last places in terms of spending on health and education.

Conversely, the Greek state’s coffers generously pour money into the social security system, while at the same time underfunding the unemployed and subsidies to at-risk families.

On an EU level, state expenditures reach 45.8 percent of GDP, based on 2017 figures. The figure has dropped from 2012, when it reached 48.9 percent of GDP.

Specifically for Greece, state spending as a percentage of GDP reached 47.3 percent, the eighth highest amongst the EU’s 28.

Spending on all types of social security benefits in Greece reached 19.4 percent, when the EU average was slightly lower, at 18.8 percent. A further breakdown shows 13.8 percent of spending (as a percentage of GDP) for retirement benefits; 2.1 percent for bereavement benefits; a mere 0.6 percent for family subsidies and children; 0.5 percent for jobless benefits and 0.9 percent for “other expenditures”, which are not defined.

Pension payments in Greece account for a whopping 29 percent of state spending, the highest among the EU 28.

Health care spending, however, only comprises 11.1 percent of total state pending, 25 among the EU’s 28, whereas education fares even worse: 27 place, with just 8.2 percent of state spending.

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