In 2021, the EU expenditure on environmental protection amounted to €292 billion. Rising on average 3% each year, the expenditure on environmental protection increased by 54% since 2006. This expenditure includes investments and consumption.
As a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP), expenditure on environmental protection remained relatively stable over the last 15 years at about 2.0% of GDP.
Following the tendency of previous years, corporations' spending was the largest share of the environmental protection expenditure, accounting for 55% of the total in 2021. The general government and non-profit sector share of the expenditure was 24%, while the households’ share was 21% of that year's total.
Compared with 2006, all three institutional sectors registered spending increases: 62% for corporations, 41% for general government and the non-profit sector, and 52% for households.
Eurostat estimates that, in 2021, waste management and wastewater treatment accounted for 28% and 23% of total expenditure in the general government and non-profit sector. Data show that 24% of total expenditure went to environmental R&D and other environmental protection activities, including general environmental administration and education, 13% to biodiversity and landscape protection, and the remaining 11% to air protection, soil and groundwater protection, noise reduction and protection against radiation.
As far as corporations are concerned, wastewater and waste management represented 27% and 56% of their expenditure in 2021, respectively. Protection of ambient air and climate accounted for 7% of the total. The remaining 10% was devoted to protecting soil and groundwater, biodiversity, noise reduction, protection against radiation and environmental R&D.
In 2021, EU investments in assets essential to provide environmental protection services amounted to €59 billion, €5 billion more than in 2020. These services included wastewater treatment plants, vehicles to transport waste, and acquisitions of land to create a natural reserve or cleaner equipment for producing with less polluting emissions.
For more information:
- Statistics Explained article on environmental protection expenditure accounts
- Dedicated section on environment
- Database on environmental protection expenditure
- European Green Deal interactive visualisation tool
- European Green Deal
- National expenditure on environmental protection measures the economic resources devoted by resident units to protect the environment, including air and climate, soil, water and biodiversity, waste and wastewater management as well as research and development, education and training, and associated administrative activities.
Statistics in this article are compiled according to the UN System of environmental-economic accounting (SEEA)