Latvia among the EU’s lowest spenders on social protection benefits / Article

Old age and sickness / health care benefits represented the majority of social protection benefits in all Member States for which data are available. The other categories included disability, survivors, family / children, unemployment, housing and social exclusion.

Among the Member States for which estimates for 2020 are available, social protection expenditure on sickness and health care as a percentage of GDP was highest in Germany (11.2% of GDP), France (10 , 0%) and Belgium (8.8%), while they were lowest in Poland (4.8%), Estonia (5.1%), Lithuania and Latvia (5.2% each).

Sickness and health expenditure 2019-2020

Photo: Eurostat

The largest increase in sickness and health care benefits between 2019 and 2020 in the Member States for which estimates for 2020 are available was recorded in Cyprus (+2.2 percentage points as a% of GDP). Cyprus is followed by Belgium (+1.3 pp) and the Czech Republic (+1.2 pp). The only country to record a decrease is Poland (-0.3 pp). Part of the reason is that nominal GDP declined as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, so that in fact spending on social protection benefits in general increased in all Member States ( read more here).

Means-tested benefits represented less than 5.0% of total expenditure on social protection benefits in 11 of the Member States, with the lowest shares recorded in Latvia and Estonia (0.6% each) in 2019.

The organization and financing of social protection systems is the responsibility of each of the EU Member States. The models used in the Member States are therefore somewhat different from each other, which should be taken into account when comparing the figures. The main policy framework in the field of social protection of the EU is the Europe 2020 strategy and the Open Method of Coordination for Social Protection and Social Inclusion (Social OMC), which aims to promote social cohesion and social inclusion. equality through adequate, accessible and financially sustainable social protection. social inclusion systems and policies.

The European Pillar of Social Rights sets out a number of key principles and rights to support fair and efficient labor markets and social protection systems. The pillar contains three broad categories of action, one of which concerns social protection and inclusion.


Means-tested social benefits in the EU, 2019

Photo: Eurostat

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