In the report on Portugal, within the scope of the evaluation carried out under the European Semester, the European Commission draws attention to the growing weight of the number of civil servants in recent years, “which has led to a permanent increase in public spending”.
As a result of this “Portugal's expenditure on salaries in the Civil Service exceeded by 1.3 percentage points the European Union average in 2021 (11.8 percent of GDP in Portugal, which compares with 10.5 percent in the Union).
Brussels notes that the number of civil servants in Portugal “reached a maximum in the fourth quarter of 2021”, with the most recent data from the Directorate-General for Public Administration and Employment (DGAEP) showing that this number continued to increase at the start of this year.
According to DGAEP statistics, the number of people employed in the general government sector on March 31, 2022 totalled 741,288, 15,800 more than in the same period of the previous year.
The European Commission, calls for a “rationalisation of spending and the number of State workers”, maintaining an efficient public service provision.
In addition, Brussels warns of the “great challenge” of aging of state workers, recalling that Portugal “has one of the highest proportions of teachers over 50 in the European Union”.
For Brussels, the aging of the population in general will lead to a greater demand for health professionals, while a reduction in the number of school-age children should “translate into a lower demand for education services”.