Social funds not enough to beat poverty


Greece is one of the three European Union states with the highest poverty rates, despite the very high expenditure for social protection, as more than one in three Greeks live in conditions of poverty or social exclusion, according to Eurostat.

Data from the EU statistical office showed that 35.6 percent of the Greek population, or about 3.8 million people, faced the specter of poverty or social exclusion last year, up from 28.1 percent in 2008. In the European Union, the average rate dropped from 23.7 percent in 2008 to 23.4 percent in 2016.

At the same time, provisional figures from the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) indicate that social spending in Greece amounted to 45.75 billion euros in 2015, up 0.9 percent from 2014. Pensions account for the lion’s share of social spending in 2015, amounting to 55.4 percent, the same as in 2014, but healthcare spending rose by 8.2 percent to 19.6 percent from 2014.

Figures published by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development show Greece ranks eighth among OECD member-states in terms of social expenditure, amounting to 27 percent of gross domestic product, against an OECD average of 21 percent.