Estonia Social Spending Second to Last in EU ({{commentsTotal}})

Source: Photo: Postimees/Scanpix

Estonia's spending on social benefits and other expenditure linked to social protection schemes was the second lowest in the European Union, at 16.1 percent of GDP in 2011, far below the union's average of 29.1 percent.

The EU's average social spending percentage increased in 2008, but began to decrease slowly after 2009, with Estonia following suit, spending 14.9 percent in 2008 and as high as 19 percent a year later, according to freshly released figures from Eurostat.

Denmark (34.2 percent), France (33.6) and the Netherlands (32.3) topped the table in 2011, with Latvia (15.1 percent), Romania (16.3) and Lithuania (17.0) joining Estonia at the bottom.

In real terms, Estonia spent 38 percent of the EU's average in 2011, while Luxembourg spent the most at 184 percent of the union's average, and Romania the least with 28 percent.

Inspecting the figures more closely, Estonia spent 44.0 percent of those resources on pensions (EU's average was 45.7 percent in 2011), 39.4 percent on sickness, healthcare and disability benefits (37.1), far more than the union's average (8.0 percent) on family benefits - 12.4 percent, but less on housing and social exclusion – 1.2 percent compared to the average of 3.6 percent.