Culture statistics - government expenditure on culture

Data extracted in February 2020.

Planned article update: March 2021.

Highlights

In 2018, general government expenditure across the EU on cultural services, broadcasting and publishing services amounted to €90 billion or 1.4 % of all general government expenditure.

In 2018, the share of EU general government expenditure on cultural services was 1.0 %; the lowest share was recorded in Greece (0.3 %) and the highest in Latvia (2.8 %).

Share of general government expenditure on cultural services, broadcasting and publishing services, 2018

This article presents data related to general government expenditure on cultural services as well as broadcasting and publishing services in the European Union (EU). It is based on data gathered by Eurostat as part of the data collection exercise on government expenditure by the classification of functions of government (COFOG).

General government expenditure on culture

In the European system of national and regional accounts (ESA 2010), the general government sector is defined as consisting of institutional units which are non-market producers whose output is intended for individual and collective consumption, and are financed by compulsory payments made by units belonging to other sectors, and institutional units principally engaged in the redistribution of national income and wealth. The general government sector comprises central government, state government, local government and social security funds.

The main functions of general government units include organising and redirecting flows of money, goods and services or other assets among corporations, among households, and between corporations and households (examples include the redistribution of national income and wealth), or the production of goods and services to satisfy households’ needs (for example, the provision of state health care or culture to the whole community).

Data are presented here for two COFOG groups (see Data sources for more details):

  • cultural services (08.2); and
  • broadcasting and publishing services (08.3).

It should be noted that apart from these two groups of the COFOG classification, some expenditure on culture may also be included in other COFOG Groups, mainly Groups 08.5 (R&D related to recreation, culture and religion) and 08.6 (recreation, culture and religion not elsewhere classified) but their cultural components cannot be distinguished. Consequently, the data presented here are an approximation of the general government expenditure on culture.

Full article

General government expenditure on culture

In 2018, across the EU-27, approximately 1.4 % of general government expenditure was allocated to cultural services as well as to broadcasting and publishing services. This percentage remained relatively stable over time within the EU-27, although there were considerable differences when analysing the results for individual EU Member States.

In 2018, the highest proportions of general government expenditure on cultural services, broadcasting and publishing services were recorded in Hungary (3.5 %), Latvia (3.2 %) and Estonia (2.9 %), while the lowest shares were recorded in Greece (0.5 %), Cyprus, Portugal and Italy (0.9 % for these three countries).

Figure 1: Share of general government expenditure on cultural services, broadcasting and publishing services, 2018
(%)
Source: Eurostat (gov_10a_exp)



In absolute terms, EU-27 general government expenditure on cultural services, broadcasting and publishing services was just over EUR 90 billion in 2018.

Table 1 shows general government expenditure on cultural services in 2013 and 2018, while Table 2 shows similar information for broadcasting and publishing services (data are shown in absolute values and as a share of all general government expenditure for both reference years).

In 2013 and 2018, the share of EU-27 general government expenditure on cultural services was 1.0 % (see Table 1). In 2018, Latvia recorded the largest share of cultural services in the general government expenditure (2.8 %), while Greece had the lowest one (0.3 %). Five years earlier, in 2013, these two countries were also in the same places in the table, but Latvia had a higher share (3.1 % compared with 2.8 %) and Greece had a slightly lower share (0.2 % compared with 0.3 %) .

There were also relatively small changes reported in a majority of the EU Member States between 2013 and 2018. The main exception was Hungary, where the share of cultural services in general government expenditure almost doubled from 1.5 % to 2.7 %. Notable increases were reported also in Malta, Lithuania (from 1.6 % to 2.1 % in both countries) and Poland (from 1.5 % to 1.9 %). The largest percentage decrease in public expenditure on cultural services during the analysed period was recorded in Estonia (from 2.8 % to 2.4 %). Looking at absolute values, 22 of the 27 EU Member States recorded an increase in public expenditure on cultural services in 2018 compared to 2013, with only five countries (France, Croatia, Cyprus, Portugal and Sweden) reporting a decrease.

Table 1: General government expenditure on cultural services, 2013 and 2018
(%)
Source: Eurostat (gov_10a_exp)



As concerns the share of EU-27 general government expenditure devoted to broadcasting and publishing services, this remained at 0.4 % in both analysed years (see Table 2). Only some EU Member States reported slight changes of this share between 2013 and 2018, with the highest increase recorded in Italy.

In most Member States, the percentage of expenditure on broadcasting and publishing services reported in general government expenditures in 2018 did not differ significantly from the average for the entire European Union (0.4 %). However, there were some exceptions: Ireland, Croatia and Hungary allocated twice as much as the EU average for this purpose (0.8 % in all these cases), while in Malta and Poland the percentage of expenditure on broadcasting and publishing services was only 0.1 % of general government expenditure.

Table 2: General government expenditure on broadcasting and publishing services, 2013 and 2018
(%)
Source: Eurostat (gov_10a_exp)



Source data for tables and graphs

Data sources

Government finance statistics are collected by Eurostat on the basis of the European System of Accounts (ESA 2010) transmission programme. EU Member States are requested to transmit, among other tables, table 1100 on the ‘Expenditure of general government by function’ 12 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 ESA 2010 categories.

Classification of government expenditure by function

The classification of the functions of government (COFOG) has three levels of detail. At its most aggregate level it classifies government expenditure into 10 main functions (divisions or COFOG level I breakdowns): 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 may be further broken down into groups (COFOG level II) and classes (COFOG level III).

COFOG Division 08 for recreation, culture and religion consists of the following COFOG groups:

  • 08.1: recreational and sporting services;
  • 08.2: cultural services;
  • 08.3: broadcasting and publishing services;
  • 08.4: religious and other community services;
  • 08.5: R&D related to recreation, culture and religion;
  • 08.6: recreation, culture and religion not elsewhere classified.

Among these six groups, cultural services and broadcasting and publishing services are those which account for a majority of culture-related government expenditure in the EU-27. Culture-related items cannot be distinguished in data for Groups 08.5 and 08.6.

Cultural services covered by COFOG Group 08.2 include:

  • the provision of cultural services;
  • administration of cultural affairs;
  • supervision and regulation of cultural facilities;
  • operation or support of facilities for cultural pursuits (libraries, museums, art galleries, theatres, exhibition halls, monuments, historic houses and sites, zoological and botanical gardens, aquaria, arboreta, and so on);
  • production, operation or support of cultural events (concerts, stage and film productions, art shows, and so on);
  • grants, loans or subsidies to support individual artists, writers, designers, composers and others working in the arts or to organisations engaged in promoting cultural activities;
  • national, regional or local celebrations provided they are not intended chiefly to attract tourists.

Broadcasting and publishing services covered by COFOG Group 08.3 include:

  • administration of broadcasting and publishing affairs;
  • supervision and regulation of broadcasting and publishing services;
  • operation or support of broadcasting and publishing services;
  • grants, loans or subsidies to support the construction or acquisition of facilities for television or radio broadcasting;
  • the construction or acquisition of plant, equipment or materials for newspaper, magazine or book publishing;
  • the production of material for broadcasting and its presentation;
  • the gathering of news or other information;
  • the distribution of published works.

Further information is available in Eurostat’s manual on sources and methods for the compilation of COFOG statistics — 2019 edition.

Context

Culture is one of Europe’s greatest assets: it is a source of values, identity and a sense of belonging; it also contributes towards well-being, social cohesion and inclusion. The cultural and creative sectors may also provide a stimulus for economic growth, job creation and international trade.

That is why culture is becoming increasingly important within the EU. In accordance with Article 167 of the Lisbon Treaty, the EU shall contribute to the flowering of the cultures of the Member States, while respecting their national and regional diversity and at the same time bringing the common heritage to the fore.

The EU supports these objectives through the Creative Europe programme, as well as a number of policy actions set out in the Work Plan for Culture (2015-2018) and the Work Plan for Culture (2019-2022). The latter, adopted by EU culture ministers in November 2018, sets out the main priorities for European cooperation in cultural policymaking: sustainability in cultural heritage; cohesion and well-being; an ecosystem supporting artists, cultural and creative professionals and European content; gender equality; and international cultural relations.

The production of reliable, comparable and up-to-date cultural statistics, which provide a basis for sound cultural policymaking, is a cross-sectorial priority in the latest work plan. Eurostat compiles culture statistics from several different data collections to provide policymakers and other users with information on the main developments in the field of culture, covering issues such as education, employment, business, international trade, participation and consumption patterns.

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