ECONOMY

Greek social welfare spending

Social welfare spending in Greece amounted to 26.6 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2002, against a European Union average of 27.7 percent, according to data released by Eurostat. Expressed in purchasing power units (PPU), social welfare spending in the EU varied widely, between 9,700 in Luxembourg to 1,139 in Lithuania (not a member in 2002); in Greece it stood at 4,399, while the 25-country average was 5,567 PPU. Only four members spent more than 30 percent of GDP on social welfare – Sweden, France, Germany and Denmark. Of total spending in the EU, the lion’s share (46.2 percent) went to senior citizen pensions, but in Greece it amounted to more than half (51.4 percent). The second-largest spending category was health (27.9 percent in the EU, 25.8 percent in Greece), followed by disability pensions (8.2 percent in the EU, 5 percent in Greece), family allowances (8 percent in the EU, 6.7 percent in Greece), unemployment benefits (6.2 percent in the EU, 6 percent in Greece) and spending against social exclusion (3.5 percent in the EU, 5.1 percent in Greece). The government covered 27.8 percent of all expenses for social welfare, against a 25-country average of 36.1 percent (2001 figures). Employers’ social security contributions accounted for 38.5 percent of the total in Greece (38.9 percent in the EU), while workers’ contributions amounted to 23.5 percent (21.7 percent in the EU).