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    EU countries public spending reaches 48.1% of GDP in 2014

    Government expenditure represented 48.1% of GDP in the European Union in 2014, against 48.6% in 2013, reveals Eurostat on Tuesday. In the euro-zone, the proportion reached 49.0% last year against 49.4% in 2013. Belgium has the 4th highest rate in the EU. Expenditure exceeded half of GDP in 8 EU countries, with Finland (58.7%) France (57.2%), Denmark (57.0%) and Belgium (54.3%) topping the rankings.

    At the same time, total government expenditure was below 40% of GDP in 6 members states, including Lithuania and Rumania (34.9% each), in Latvia (36.9%), in Estonia (38.8%), in Ireland (39.0%) and in Bulgaria (39.2%),.

    Most government expenditure in EU countries involves “welfare.” Welfare spending represented 36.1% of total government expenditure in Belgium in 2013, followed by general services – including foreign affairs and public debt operations – with 15.5%, health with 14.6%, economic measures with 12.2% and education with 11.8%.

    Lars Andersen (Source: Belga)