Switzerland spends more than the EU on education

A primary school class in Aargau, northern Switzerland Keystone

Switzerland’s public finances rose by 1.7% in 2018 to CHF232.6 billion ($238.8 billion) compared with 2017. As a percentage of the total, Switzerland spent more on education and less on defence than the European Union. 

This content was published on February 6, 2020

The largest budget item remained social protection, costing almost CHF92 billion or 39.4% of the total, the Federal Statistical Office (FSO) said on ThursdayExternal link. This is slightly less than in the EU, which, according to the statistical office Eurostat (quoted by the FSO), spends 41.1%. 

Switzerland spends considerably more than the EU on education, the second-largest budget item: 16.5% of the total compared with 10.2% in the EU. Some 2.4% of total Swiss expenditure went on defence, compared with 2.9% in the EU. 

The third-largest tranche of Swiss government expenditure was general public administration, which took up 13.7% of expenditure. The EU spends 12.7% on this. 

Switzerland is also digging deeper into its pockets in “economic affairs”, the fourth-largest item: 11.7% of its budget is spent on this, compared with 8.9% in the EU. 

The FSO uses the United Nations’ system COFOG (classification of the functions of government), which the FSO says allows an international comparison of the results.

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