Austerity’s Harsh Impact on Greece’s Public Services Revealed



Greek firefighters and policemen

According to data released Thursday by the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV), significant declines in state funding for public services were recorded between 2015 and 2016. During this period, the Greek state invested just €3 million ($3.4 million) in the Greek police force, and nothing for the Greek fire brigade.

The shocking figures emphasize the extent of the austerity measures that have been implemented in Greece in the past decade.

SEV notes in its publication that in addition to the Greek fire brigade, Greece’s prisons and courts have not seen a single euro of public investments from 2009 until today.

The average level of investment in public safey in the EU amounts to 3.1 percent of public spending, compared to almost zero in Greece.

At the same time, Greece spends much more than the EU’s average for its sanitation and water services. Greece exceeds the average EU level of public spending on water consumption (at 3 percent compared to 1.1 percent), while 5.5 percent of public spending goes towards sanitation services, compared to an EU average of 1.7 percent. The latter statistic highlights Greece’s ongoing struggles in coping with waste management.

Finally, regarding Greece’s public investment in culture, sports and recreation, the figures depict a similar situation, with 0.1 percent of public spending earmarked for this purpose between 2015-16, compared to an EU average of 1.9 percent for culture and 2.2 percent for recreation and sports.