How much do governments spend on fire-protection in the EU?


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In 2017, the EU's 28 Member States spent €31.2 billion of government expenditure for 'fire-protection services', whilst almost 300 000 persons were employed as fire fighters in the European Union (EU) in 2017 as well as in 2018.

This expenditure is equivalent to 0.4% of the total government expenditure, which is less than the amount spent on police services (expenditure equivalent to 2.0% of total expenditure in 2017) and law courts (0.7%), but similar to government expenditure on prisons (0.4%).

Overall, in the EU, the public expenditure on fire-protection services remained stable as a percentage of total expenditure since the beginning of the time series in 2004.


Highest share of expenditure on fire-protection services in Bulgaria, lowest in Denmark

In 2017, the ratio of government fire-protection expenditure to total expenditure varied across EU Member States from 0.1% of the total expenditure in Denmark, 0.2% in Malta, and 0.3% in Portugal, Luxembourg, Ireland and Austria, to 0.7% in Latvia, Lithuania and Romania, and 0.8% in Bulgaria.


Fire-protection expenditure as a share of total, 2017

The source dataset can be found here (expenditure).


Luxembourg spent most per inhabitant on fire-protection

The amounts spent by EU governments can be put into perspective with the size of the population of each Member State.

Fire-protection government expenditure per inhabitant was above €100 in four EU Member States in 2017: Luxembourg (€113 per inhabitant), Finland (€106), the Netherlands (€104) and Sweden (€100), closely followed by Germany (€96) and France (€93).

In contrast, the lowest fire-protection expenditure per head was recorded in Malta (€17 per inhabitant), followed by Bulgaria (€21), Croatia and Portugal (both €22), Poland (€23), Romania (€24) and Slovakia (€26).


Fire-protection expenditure per inhabitant, 2017

The source dataset can be found here  (expenditure) and here (population).


This information on general government expenditure for the function 'fire-protection services' (according to the Classification of the Functions of Government - COFOG).

For more information, refer to the set of statistical articles based on government expenditure by function. An interactive infographic is also available on the Eurostat website.


This news is published on the occasion of the International Fire-Fighters’ Day celebrated every year on 4 May.


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