Total Government expenditure in Cyprus for 2016 reached 38.6 per cent of GDP, according to Eurostat, had the third lowest expenditure share on pensions at 6.2 per cent while Greece had the highest at 16 per cent.
Cyprus spent 7.7 per cent of GDP on general public services, 1.5 per cent on defence, 1.7 per cent on public order and safety, 2.6 per cent on economic affairs, 0.3 per cent on environmental protection, 1.5 per cent on housing and community amenities, 2.6 per cent on health, 0.9 per cent on recreation, culture and religion, 6.0 per cent on education and 13.8 per cent of GDP on social protection.
Social protection expenditure consisted of 0.5 per cent of GDP on sickness and disability, 6.2 per cent on old age pensions, 1.5 per cent survivors , 3.1 per cent on family and children, 0.8 per cent on unemployment and 1.7 per cent on other categories.
Eurostat mentioned that among the main functions of general government expenditure in the European Union (EU), ‘social protection’ was by far the largest in 2016, equivalent to 19.1 per cent of GDP on average.
Social protection represented the largest area of general government expenditure in 2016 in all EU Member States. The ratio of government social protection expenditure to GDP varied across EU Member States from less than 10 per cent in Ireland (9.9 per cent) to over a quarter in Finland (25.6 per cent).
Eight Member States – Finland, France, Denmark, Austria, Italy, Greece, Sweden and Belgium – devoted at least 20 per cent of GDP to social protection, while Ireland, Lithuania, Romania, Latvia, Malta, the Czech Republic and Bulgaria each spent less than 13 per cent of GDP on social protection.
The group ‘old age’, which includes pensions, made up the largest part of social protection expenditure in all member states. Government expenditure on ‘old age’ as a share of GDP was highest in 2016 in Greece (16 per cent), followed by Finland (13.7 per cent), France and Italy (both 13.5 per cent) and Austria (13.0 per cent). By contrast, Ireland (3.5 per cent), Lithuania (5.9 per cent), Cyprus (6.2 per cent) and the Netherlands (6.7 per cent) recorded the lowest shares on spending on old-age. General government expenditure on ‘old age’ accounted for 10.2 per cent of GDP across the EU.