EPRS Admin By / May 4, 2021

Public spending

Public spending as % of national GDP in Member States and EU budget as % of EU GNI

Public spending as % of national GDP in Member States and EU budget as % of EU GNI

framing is expected to influence the citizens’ perception and opinion of the EU budget.
Describing the EU budget as big or small also depends on what frame of reference is used. Even if the amounts of money might sound impressive to a citizen, the EU budget actually constitutes a very small share of the Member States’ GDP. It is just over 1 % of the gross national income (GNI) of the whole EU. Compared to the share of GDP that public spending constitutes within the Member States’ national budgets, the EU budget seems insignificant. Even though national budgets vary across countries and time, that variation fluctuates between more than 60 % and 25 % – not nearly as low as the share distributed through the EU budget. Although national public spending is presented as a percentage of GDP and the EU one as a percentage of GNI, the magnitude of the difference is well illustrated in Figure 1 below.


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