Government expenditure on public order and safety
From Statistics Explained
EU-27 government expenditure on public order and safety at 1.9 % of GDP in 2012
Statistics in focus 7/2014; Authors: Michele MAROTTA, Martim ASSUNÇÃO, Laurent FREYSSON, Laura WAHRIG, Stephen CLARKE
ISSN:2314-9647 Catalogue number:KS-SF-14-007-EN-N
In the framework of the European System of National Accounts (ESA95), Eurostat collects data on general government expenditure by economic function according to the international Classification of the Functions of Government (COFOG) – see methodological note.
This publication presents for the first time detailed COFOG data on public order and safety for the European countries. This became possible due to progress in the availability and quality of voluntarily transmitted COFOG level II data.
- 1 Main statistical findings
- 1.1 EU-27 general government expenditure on public order and safety in 2012
- 1.2 Government expenditure on 'public order and safety' as a ratio to GDP decreased between 2009 and 2012
- 1.3 'Police services' has the largest share of expenditure, followed by 'law courts' and 'fire protection services'
- 1.4 Compensation of employees is the most important component of expenditure on public order and safety
- 2 Data sources and availability
- 3 Context
- 4 Further Eurostat information
Main statistical findings
In 2012, EU-27 total general government expenditure amounted to 49.4 % of GDP. Based on the latest available expenditure data by economic function for 2012, 1.9 % of GDP was devoted to expenditure on public order and safety in the EU-27, a slight decrease compared with 2011.
Of total government expenditure on 'public order and safety', over half was dedicated to 'police services' (1.0 % of GDP in the EU-27 in 2012) (see Figure 1).
EU-27 general government expenditure on public order and safety in 2012
Government expenditure on public order and safety amounted to around EUR 240 billion in 2012 in the EU-27.
As a ratio to GDP, the highest levels of government expenditure on public order and safety among the reporting countries were found in Croatia (2.57 % of GDP), Slovakia (2.41 % of GDP), the United Kingdom (2.37 % of GDP) and Bulgaria (2.36 % of GDP). The lowest ratios were observed in Luxembourg (1.07 % of GDP), and Denmark (1.12 % of GDP). Of all reporting countries, Norway is the country with the lowest ratio (0.95 % of GDP).
The share of expenditure dedicated to public order and safety (Figure 2) has been quite stable since 2002, with the decrease in recent years due to active measure taken by countries to reduce this expenditure, mainly concerning intermediate consumption and capital investments.
Government expenditure on 'public order and safety' as a ratio to GDP decreased between 2009 and 2012
As a ratio to GDP, government expenditure on 'public order and safety' followed a declining trend from 2009 (1.98 % of GDP) until 2012 (1.86 % of GDP). It had increased between 2007 (1.81 % of GDP) and 2009 (1.98 % of GDP) (Table 1).
It also decreased in absolute terms by around EUR 0.8 billion from 2011 to 2012. While 'compensation of employees' and 'current transfers' continued to grow, 'intermediate consumption' and 'capital investments' decreased. In absolute terms, EU-27 total expenditure on public order and safety increased from 2009 to 2011.
The evolution at the level of the EU masks disparate developments in the EU Member States. While total expenditure on public order and safety decreased by 0.6 percentage points (pp) of GDP in Bulgaria, 0.3 pp of GDP in the Czech Republic and 0.2 pp of GDP in Ireland and Portugal over the 2009 to 2012 period, slight increases were observed in France, Luxembourg, Romania and Finland, as well as in Switzerland among the EFTA countries.
The decreases in Portugal and Slovenia reflect overall falls in the absolute amounts of 'compensation of employees'. In Portugal 'compensation of employees' in absolute terms already decreased in 2010 and 2011, while nominal GDP fell in 2009, 2011 and 2012. Only in 2012 was the decrease in public order and safety expenditure substantially larger than the decrease in GDP, leading to a decline in the % to GDP ratio.
Expenditure on 'police services' makes up the majority of government expenditure on public order and safety – around 55 % in the EU-27 in 2012 - accounting for 2.07 % of total government expenditure (TE). While expenditure on 'police services' made up 3.69 % of TE in Cyprus, 3.36 % of TE in Romania, 3.23 % of TE in Bulgaria and 3.20 % of TE in Spain, at the other end of the scale, expenditure on 'police services' constituted only 1.01 % of TE in Denmark, 1.10 % of TE in Finland and 1.06 % of TE in Norway, as shown in Table 2.
Expenditure on 'law courts', which represented the second largest share, made up 0.75 % of total government expenditure in 2012 in the EU-27. Expenditure on 'law courts' covers administration, operation and support of law courts and the judicial system as a whole; this includes legal representation under legal aid schemes. It made up 1.74 % of TE in Bulgaria, but only 0.32 % of TE in Cyprus.
Expenditure on 'fire protection services' made up 0.43 % of TE in the EU-27. At the higher end of the range, Bulgaria devoted 0.85 % of TE to 'fire protection services'. In contrast, Denmark dedicated only 0.16 % of TE to expenditure in this COFOG group.
Expenditure on 'prisons' made up 0.38 % of TE in the EU-27 in 2012.
The share of expenditures not elsewhere classified is quite low in the majority of countries.
Compensation of employees is the most important component of expenditure on public order and safety
In the EU-27 in 2012, ‘compensation of employees’, for instance on wages and salaries of policemen, firemen, prison staff, judges and paralegals, accounted for the largest share of expenditure on public order and safety in all related COFOG groups (69 % of total expenditure).
Apart from ‘compensation of employees’, ‘intermediate consumption’, accounting for 23 % of total expenditure and ‘capital investments’ (for instance on buildings, accounting for around 5 % of expenditure) were important expenditure components (see Figure 3).
Data sources and availability
Reporting of data to Eurostat
Annual government finance statistics (GFS) data are collected by Eurostat on the basis of the European System of Accounts (ESA95) transmission programme. Member States are requested to transmit, among other tables, table 1100, 'Expenditure of general government by function' twelve months after the end of the reference period. Table 1100 provides information about expenditure of the general government sector divided into main COFOG functions and ESA95 categories. The transmission of the COFOG I level breakdown (divisions) is compulsory for the years 1995 onwards, whereas information on the COFOG II level (COFOG groups) is provided on a voluntary basis. The main reference years used in this publication are 2012 as the latest year available and 2002 as the first year for which complete data on expenditure by function are available at EU-27 level.
Data was extracted on 07 March 2014.
Data for Bulgaria (BG), Greece (EL), Hungary (HU), Iceland (IS) and Sweden (SE) (2012 only) is provisional.
Definition of general government and its sub-sectors
The data relate to the general government sector of the economy, as defined in ESA95, paragraph 2.68: 'All institutional units which are other non-market producers [institutional units whose sales do not cover more than the 50 % of the production costs, see ESA95 paragraph 3.26] whose output is intended for individual and collective consumption, and mainly financed by compulsory payments made by units belonging to other sectors, and/or all institutional units principally engaged in the redistribution of national income and wealth’.
Classification of functional expenditure of government
The Classification of the Functions of Government (COFOG) classifies government expenditure into ten main categories (divisions known as the 'COFOG I level' breakdown): general public services; defence; public order and safety; economic affairs; environmental protection; housing and community affairs; health; recreation, culture and religion; education; social protection. These divisions are further broken down into 'groups' (COFOG II level).
Further information is available in the Eurostat Manual on sources and methods for the compilation of COFOG Statistics.
COFOG level II data
COFOG level II data is published only in agreement with the country concerned. The development of COFOG level II data is not completed in many Member States and data needs to be looked at with this in mind. The transmission of COFOG level II data for the general government will become compulsory by the end of December 2014.
For Belgium (BE) and Slovakia (SK), COFOG group data is available but not published. For ES, COFOG group data is available for 2012, but not published pending the availability of more final data.
Definition of general government expenditure
Government expenditure is defined in Commission Regulation 1500/2000 which uses as reference a list of ESA95 categories: Government expenditure comprises the following categories:
- P.2, 'intermediate consumption': the purchase of goods and services by government;
- P.5, 'gross capital formation' consists of: (a) gross fixed capital formation (P.51); (b) changes in inventories (P.52); (c) acquisitions less disposals of valuables (P.53); where
- P.51, 'gross fixed capital formation': consists of acquisitions, less disposals, of fixed assets during a given period plus certain additions to the value of non-produced assets realised by the productive activity of producer or institutional units. Fixed assets are tangible or intangible assets produced as outputs from processes of production that are themselves used repeatedly, or continuously, in processes of production for more than one year;
- D.1, 'compensation of employees': the wages of government employees plus non-wage costs such as social contributions;
- D.29, 'other taxes on production, payable',
- D.3, 'subsidies, payable',
- D.4, 'property income, payable', consists of : (a) 'interest, payable' (D.41) and (b) 'other property income, payable' (D.42+D.43+D.44+D.45), where
- D.41, 'interest': excludes settlements under swaps and forward rate arrangements, as these are treated as financial transactions in the ESA 95;
- D.5, 'current taxes on income, wealth, etc, payable';
- D.62, social payments: cover social benefits and pensions paid in cash;
- D.6311, D.63121, D.63131, 'Social transfers in kind related to expenditure on products supplied to households via market producers';
- D.7, 'other current transfers, payable';
- D.8, 'adjustment for the change in net equity of households in pension fund reserves'
- D.9, 'capital transfers payable'
- K.2, 'acquisitions less disposals of non-financial non-produced assets': public investment spending. Non-financial non-produced assets consist of land and other tangible non-produced assets that may be used in the production of goods and services, and intangible non-produced assets.
- Capital investments includes P.5 and K.2.
- Other current expenditure includes D.7, D.29, D.5 and D.8.
Gross domestic product
Throughout this publication, nominal GDP, i.e. GDP at current prices is used.
Time of recording & symbol
In the ESA95 system, recording is in principle on an accrual basis, that is, when ‘economic value is created, transformed or extinguished, or when claims and obligations arise, are transformed or are cancelled.'
":" not available
"pp" percentage points
More data and information
For country-specific notes, e.g. on missing data, please refer to the metadata published on Eurobase. The authors can be contacted at ESTAT-ESA95-GOV@ec.europa.eu.
In the framework of the European System of National Accounts (ESA95), Eurostat collects data on general government expenditure by economic function according to the international Classification of the functions of government (COFOG) – see methodological note. This publication presents for the first time detailed COFOG data on public order and safety for the European countries. This became possible due to progress in the availability and quality of voluntarily transmitted COFOG level II data.
Further Eurostat information
Methodology / Metadata
- General government expenditure by function (COFOG) (ESMS metadata file - gov_a_exp_esms)
- Manual on sources and methods for the compilation of COFOG statistics - Classifications of the Functions of Government - 2011 edition
Source data for tables (MS Excel)