General government expenditure in the EU in 2016

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% of GDP. The next most important areas were ‘health’ (7.1%), ‘general public services’ such as external affairs and public debt transactions (6.0%), ‘education’ (4.7%) and ‘economic affairs’ (4.0%). ‘Public order and safety’ (1.7%), ‘defence’ (1.3%), ‘recreation, culture and religion’ (1.0%), ‘environmental protection’ (0.7%) and ‘housing and community amenities’ (0.6%) had more limited weights. However, these EU-level data mask significant differences between the Member States in the share of GDP dedicated to each function of general government expenditure. The information on general government total expenditure by function comes from an online publication issued by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.