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Greece Comes Second in EU Research Spending

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EU flag at the European Parliament. Credit: Eyes Roger / CC-BY-2.0 / Wikimedia Commons

According to Eurostat data reported and reviewed by the Development Ministry on Monday, Greece holds the second position in the European Union in terms of Government Budget Allocations for Research & Development (GBARD) over the long term.

From 2012 to 2022, the statistical office of the European Union observed that all member states increased their R&D budget allocations per person when measured in euros.

During the period reviewed, meaning the last decade, Latvia topped the increase statistics, seeing a remarkable surge of 208%, rising from €16.1 per person in 2012 to €49.6 in 2022.

Greece’s healthy growth in R&D spending

Greece also experienced notable growth, with a 129% rise in government Research and Development spending, going from €66.0 to €151.2 per person. Greece’s annual government spending on R&D reached €1,581.43 million in 2022, marking a 51% increase compared to the €1,040 million in 2018 and a significant 116% surge from €731.94 million in 2012.

Despite Greece having put a moratorium on government spending in 2012, it appears that Research and Development spending was not hit as hard as other public sector investments.

This is a positive example for most other European countries that hit a recession around the same time. During the same time period, Sweden showed the lowest percentage increase (+4% from €377.7 to €391.6). Research and Development is considered to be the backbone of advanced economies, and it is vital to maintain an edge in many different fields.

The R&D  budget impacts the technology and industrial sectors, but in a country like Greece with an exceptionally rich history, it is also significant for the heritage sector which in turn directly influences the tourism industry. Greece has, in this respect, proven to have made wise choices when considering the long-term effects of government spending. 

Greece allocated €2,473.45 million for R&D spending in 2020

The year 2020 marked an increase of €135.8 million when compared to figures from 2019, reflecting a growth rate of 5.8%. It is crucial to observe that over the same time frame, particularly within the past couple of years, inflation has attained an unprecedented peak.

Despite the potential inaccuracies in contemporary methods employed for gauging inflation, it is reasonable to speculate that the latest Research and Development investments will be aligning with the pervasive inflationary trends.

Considering that from 2019 to 2020 there was an increase of 5.8% in R&D spending and that over the course of 2020 Greece’s GDP crashed, with a -9.8%, R&D expenditure still increased in absolute terms. It increased by 1.50% over the course of 2020, faring even better than 2019, when it increased by 1.28 %

Meanwhile, the economy experienced a contraction during these years. As the OECD has remarked, Greece’s economy has only recently returned to pre-pandemic levels. There is hope that there will be a further upturn in spending within this sector. 

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