Social protection spending in Greece fell in 2016 and 2017, according to the latest Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) data, despite the social profile the previous government tried to project, mainly through the handouts made at the end of every year.
The “social dividend” distributed was not enough to offset the reduction of spending for the benefit of other – much more populous – categories, such as retirees on low pensions who missed out on their Social Solidarity Benefit (EKAS). The benefit criteria were illness, disability, old age, bereavement, family/children, unemployment, housing and social exclusion.
The net result was negative as social protection expenditure fell by 0.1 percent in 2016 from 2015 and dropped a further 1.5 percent in 2017. In total social protection spending shrank by 1.6 percent or 736 million euros over those two years.