In 2015, the EU 28 Member States reported over €258 billion of government expenditure on 'public order and safety'. This figure is equivalent to 1.8% of the EU's GDP. In comparison, this is higher than the amount spent on other major activities such as 'defence' (1.4%), 'recreation, culture and religion' (1.0%) or 'environmental protection' (0.8%). General government expenditure on 'public order and safety' comprises mainly expenditure on police services, fire protection services, law courts and prisons.
Highest share of expenditure on 'public order and safety' in Bulgaria, lowest in Denmark and Luxembourg
In 2015, the ratio to GDP of government expenditure for 'public order and safety' was highest in Bulgaria (2.8%), Slovakia (2.4%), Romania (2.3%), Croatia and Poland (both 2.2%). At the opposite end of the scale, Denmark and Luxembourg (both 1.0%), Ireland (1.1%), Malta and Finland (1.2%), Sweden (1.3%) and Austria (1.4%) spent less than 1.5% of their GDP on 'public order and safety'.
The source dataset can be found here.
Luxembourg, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands spent most per inhabitant
The ranking is quite different when the amounts spent are graded according to the size of the population of each Member State. On average in 2015, expenditure on 'public order and safety' amounted to €507 per inhabitant in the EU.
The EU Member States that spent above 500 euros per inhabitant were Luxembourg (with €899), the United Kingdom (€792), the Netherlands (€724), Belgium (€644), Ireland (€598), Sweden (€594), Germany (€581), Austria (€545), France (€535) and Italy (€506).
At the opposite end of the scale, spending stood below 250 euros per inhabitant in Bulgaria (€173), Romania (€183), Lithuania (€204), Hungary (€230), Croatia (€231), Poland (€247) and Latvia (€248).
You can read more about general government expenditure for 'public order and safety' (according to the Classification of the Functions of Government - COFOG) in our online article. An interactive infographic is also available on the Eurostat website.
Please also read our previously published news items on a similar topic:
General government expenditure on defence
General government expenditure on recreation, culture and religion