(08 December 2018) – Since 2010, social protection expenditure in the European Union has increased slightly, from 28.6% of GDP in 2010 to 29.0% in 2015, but with major disparities between Member States.
In 2015, the two main sources of funding of social protection at EU level were social contributions, making up 54% of total receipts, and general government contributions from taxes at 43%.
The EU average continued to mask major disparities between Member States. In 2015, social protection expenditure represented at least 30% of GDP in France (34%), Denmark and Finland (both 32%), Belgium, the Netherlands, Austria and Italy (all 30%).
In contrast, social protection expenditure stood below 20% of GDP in Romania and Latvia (both 15%), Lithuania and Estonia (both 16%), Ireland (17%), Malta, Bulgaria and Slovakia (all 18%) as well as in the Czech Republic (19%).
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.