The Cypriot welfare state is limited and below the EU 28’s average as regards expenditure percentage per GDP which now stands at 18.5% compared to the bloc’s 27.9%, according to Statistical Services latest data.
Specifically, Cyprus spent €3.62 billion on social protection policies in 2017 compared to €3.76 billion in 2013.
The 2000 to 2017 released data also shows that in 2013, the year Cyprus joined the economic adjustment programme, the percentage of spending on social protection policies appears higher per GDP. However, this is not because of higher amounts spent but because the island’s GDP had shrunk.
In any case, the welfare state in Cyprus still has a long way to go, especially in comparison with countries in northern Europe which spend a lot more on social protection policies, Phileleftheros reports.
In Cyprus, expenditure on social protection policies in 2000 was 13.7% of GDP, it increased to 19.1% in 2009, and dropped to 17.6% in 2010. Social protection policies expenditure in 2013 rose to 23% of GDP, 20.2% in 2014 and 20.1% in 2015. In 2016 and 2017, this expenditure fell to 19.4% of GCP and 18.5% of GDP, respectively.
In Greece, spending on social protection polices stood at 25.2% of GDP in 2017. And the highest percentage was recorded in 2012, reaching 28.1% of GDP.
The countries that spend high amounts on social policies and also have strong economies are France with 34.1% of GDP, Denmark with 32.2%, Finland with 30.6%, Germany with 29.7%, Sweden and Belgium with 28.8%, the Netherlands with 29.3%, Austria with 29.4%, and Italy with 29.1%.
Countries with low expenditure on social protection policies are Ireland and Latvia with 14.9% of GDP, Bulgaria with 16.8%, Estonia with 16%, Malta with 16.1%, and Lithuania with 15.1%. In Poland, expenditure on social protection policies is 20.3% of GDP and in Slovenia 22.6% of GDP.
Almost 48.5% of Cyprus’ expenditure on social protection policies goes to old-age pensions, with the percentage standing at 18.3% in 2017, up from 18.2% in 2016 and 17.4% in 2015. The overall amount spent was €665.59 million in 2017 and €650.76 million in 2016.