Increasingly improved appears to be the picture of the expenditure given by the Greek government, both for Education and Health, compared to the early years of the crisis.
The total funding for Health expenditure, like other social expenditure, fell significantly over the period 2010-2014 (a cumulative decrease of € 7.4 billion) as a result of the horizontal cuts imposed in the first two Financial Adjustment Programs. In 2015 this downward trend slowly stopped, when an increase of 1.7% was recorded, while one of 1.9% was recorded in 2016. Thus, total Health expenditure as a percentage of GDP for the year 2015 stood at 8.19% and for 2016 at 8.45%.
The reduction in total Health spending during the crisis has led to a change in public and private participation rates in spending. The total government contribution to the financing of the Health Department is significantly lower than the pre-crisis levels. In 2014, the lowest public funding for Health is recorded in both relative and absolute terms (€ 8,267.0 million or 58.2% of total Ηealth expenditure), while from 2015 this negative trend began to reverse. In 2016, public funding amounted to € 9,034.7 million and its share in the total Health expenditure stood at 61.35%, recording an increase of 3.0 percentage points.
It is worth noting that in Greece the public funding of Health expenditures as a percentage of total spending has been consistently over time one of the lowest in the EU-28, even before the crisis began. The further reduction in public spending resulted in the transfer of these costs to the households and in increased private payments, which, as a percentage of total expenditure (34.3%) for Health, is among the highest in Europe.
Increase in research and development
The total public expenditure on Education relates both to expenditure on all levels of Education (Primary, Secondary, Post-Secondary and Higher Education) and expenditure on Research and Development (R & D). During the Financial Adaptation Programs, spending on Education has suffered considerable reductions. The largest cuts took place during the period 2010-2014, which amounted to a total of 16.4%, while in the period 2015-2016 the reductions began to be limited as a consequence of the stabilization of the Greek economy.
R & D expenditure in Greece in 2017 amounted to € 2,033.0 million, which is an increase of €278.8 million compared to 2016. The Intensity Ratio for R & D expenditure (R & D expenditure as % of GDP) increased even further- from 1.01% in 2016 to 1.14% in 2017.
The rising trend of R & D expenditure, both in public and private domain, over the last three years (2015-2017) shows that Greece will achieve the national target of the “Europe 2020” strategy for an R & D intensity ratio of 1.2% in 2018./ibna