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Belgium Facts

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 BELGIAN POLITICAL
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Background: Belgium became independent from the Netherlands in 1830; it was occupied by Germany during World Wars I and II. The country prospered in the past half century as a modern, technologically advanced European state and member of NATO and the EU. Tensions between the Dutch-speaking Flemings of the north and the French-speaking Walloons of the south have led in recent years to constitutional amendments granting these regions formal recognition and autonomy.
 
 
Common Name: Belgium Local Official Name: Belgique/Belgie
Abbreviated Name: Kingdom of Belgium Official Name: Royaume de Belgique/Koninkrijk Belgie
Official Script Name: Belgium Local Common Name: Belgium
Former Name: Belgium Territory of: NA
 
Head of State: King ALBERT II
 
Government Type: federal parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarch
 
Independence: 1830 October 4 a provisional government declared independence from the Netherlands; 1831 July 21 the ascension of King Leopold I to the throne
 
Constitution: 1831 February 7, last revised 1993 July 14 (parliament approved a constitutional package creating a federal state)
 
National Holiday: Independence Day, 21 July
 
International Organization Participation: ACCT, AfDB, AsDB, Australia Group, Benelux, BIS, CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, EIB, EMU, ESA, EU, FAO, G- 9, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITU, MIGA, MONUC, NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OIF, ONUB, OPCW, OSCE, Paris Club, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNITAR, UNMOGIP, UNRWA, UNTSO, UPU, WADB (nonregional), WCL, WCO, WEU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
 
Administrative Divisions: 10 provinces (French: provinces, singular - province; Dutch: provincies, singular - provincie) and 3 regions* (French: regions; Dutch: gewesten); Antwerpen, Brabant Wallon, Brussels* (Bruxelles), Flanders*, Hainaut, Liege, Limburg, Luxembourg, Namur, Oost-Vlaanderen, Vlaams-Brabant, Wallonia*, West-Vlaanderen note: as a result of the 1993 constitutional revision that furthered devolution into a federal state, there are now three levels of government (federal, regional, and linguistic community) with a complex division of responsibilities
 
Dependent Areas: NA
 
Legal System: civil law system influenced by English constitutional theory; judicial review of legislative acts; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations
 
Suffrage: 18 years
 
Executive, Legislative and Judicial Branches: Executive Branch: chief of state: King ALBERT II (since 9 August 1993); Heir Apparent Prince PHILIPPE, son of the monarch head of government: Prime Minister Guy VERHOFSTADT (since 13 July 1999) cabinet: Council of Ministers formally appointed by the monarch elections: none; the monarchy is hereditary and constitutional; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or the leader of the majority coalition is usually appointed prime minister by the monarch and then approved by parliament note: government coalition - VLD, MR, PS, SP.A-Spirit Legislative Branch: bicameral Parliament consists of a Senate or Senaat in Dutch, Senat in French (71 seats; 40 members are directly elected by popular vote, 31 are indirectly elected; members serve four-year terms) and a Chamber of Deputies or Kamer van Volksvertegenwoordigers in Dutch, Chambre des Representants in French (150 seats; members are directly elected by popular vote on the basis of proportional representation to serve four-year terms) elections: Senate and Chamber of Deputies - last held 18 May 2003 (next to be held no later than May 2007) election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - SP.A-Spirit 15.5%, VLD 15.4%, CD & V 12.7%, PS 12.8%, MR 12.1%, VB 9.4%, CDH 5.6%; seats by party - SP.A-Spirit 7, VLD 7, CD & V 6, PS 6, MR 5, VB 5, CDH 2, other 2 (note - there are also 31 indirectly elected senators); Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by party - VLD 15.4%, SP.A-Spirit 14.9%, CD & V 13.3%, PS 13.0%, VB 11.6%, MR 11.4%, CDH 5.5%, Ecolo 3.1%; seats by party - VLD 25, SP.A-Spirit 23, CD & V 21, PS 25, VB 18, MR 24, CDH 8, Ecolo 4, other 2 note: as a result of the 1993 constitutional revision that furthered devolution into a federal state, there are now three levels of government (federal, regional, and linguistic community) with a complex division of responsibilities; this reality leaves six governments each with its own legislative assembly Judicial Branch: Supreme Court of Justice or Hof van Cassatie (in Dutch) or Cour de Cassation (in French) (judges are appointed for life by the government; candidacies have to be submitted by the High Justice Council)
 
Party Leaders: Flemish parties: Christian Democrats and Flemish or CD & V [Jo VANDEURZEN]; Flemish Liberal Democrats or VLD [Bart SOMERS]; GROEN! (formerly AGALEV, Flemish Greens) [Vera DUA]; New Flemish Alliance or NVA [Bart DE WEVER]; Socialist Party.Alternative or SP.A [Johan Vande LANOTTE]; Spirit [Geert LAMBERT] (new party now associated with SP.A); Vlaams Belang (Flemish Interest) or VB [Frank VANHECKE] Francophone parties: Ecolo (Francophone Greens) [Jean-Michel JAVAUX, Isabelle DURANT, Claude BROUIR]; Humanist and Democratic Center of CDH [Joelle MILQUET]; National Front or FN [Daniel FERET]; Reform Movement or MR [Didier REYNDERS]; Socialist Party or PS [Elio DI RUPO]; other minor parties
 
International Disputes: NA
 
Illicit Drugs: growing producer of synthetic drugs; transit point for US-bound ecstasy; source of precursor chemicals for South American cocaine processors; transshipment point for cocaine, heroin, hashish, and marijuana entering Western Europe; despite a strengthening of legislation, the country remains vulnerable to money laundering related to narcotics, automobiles, alcohol, and tobacco 
 
 
 BELGIAN GEOGRAPHY
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Location of Belgium: Western Europe, bordering the North Sea, between France and the Netherlands
 
Continent: Europe Land Area Total: 30,528 sq km 
Region: Western Europe Land Area Land: 30,278 sq km
Capitol City: Brussels Land Area Water: 250 sq km
      
Latitude: 050 50 N Border Boundary Land: 1,385 km
Longitude: 004 00 E Border Boundary Coastline: 66 km 
  
Arable Land: 27.42 % Pastures: 0.00 %
Crops: 0.69 % Woodlands and Forests: 0.00
  
Highest Elevation: 694 m Location: Signal de Botrange
Lowest Elevation: 0 m Location: North Sea
  
Largest City in Belgium: Brussels Brussels Largest City Population: 1,121,000
  
Threatened Species: 31
 
Environmental Issues: the environment is exposed to intense pressures from human activities: urbanization, dense transportation network, industry, intense animal breeding and crop cultivation; air and water pollution also have repercussions for neighboring countries; uncertainties regarding federal and regional responsibilities (now resolved) have slowed progress in tackling environmental challenges
 
Environmental Agreements: party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Sulfur 85, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants
 
Irrigated Land: 400
 
Bordering Countries: border countries: France 620 km, Germany 167 km, Luxembourg 148 km, Netherlands 450 km
 
Natural Resources: construction materials, silica sand, carbonates
 
Geographical Terrain: flat coastal plains in northwest, central rolling hills, rugged mountains of Ardennes Forest in southeast
 
Comparative Area of Belgium: about the size of Maryland
 
Belgium's Geography: crossroads of Western Europe; majority of West European capitals within 1,000 km of Brussels, the seat of both the European Union and NATO
 

 BELGIAN CLIMATE
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General Climate: temperate; mild winters, cool summers; rainy, humid, cloudy
 
Natural Hazards: flooding is a threat in areas of reclaimed coastal land, protected from the sea by concrete dikes
 
 
 BELGIAN ECONOMY
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Economic Overview: This modern, private-enterprise economy has capitalized on its central geographic location, highly developed transport network, and diversified industrial and commercial base. Industry is concentrated mainly in the populous Flemish area in the north. With few natural resources, Belgium must import substantial quantities of raw materials and export a large volume of manufactures, making its economy unusually dependent on the state of world markets. Roughly three-quarters of its trade is with other EU countries. Public debt is nearly 100% of GDP. On the positive side, the government has succeeded in balancing its budget, and income distribution is relatively equal. Belgium began circulating the euro currency in January 2002. Economic growth in 2001-03 dropped sharply because of the global economic slowdown, with moderate recovery in 2004-05.
 
 
GDP: $325,000,000,000 USD Currency: euro
GDP per Capita: $31,400 USD Currency Code: EUR;
GDP Growth Rate: 1.50 %
  
Currency Exchange Rate History: euros per US dollar - 0.8041 (2005), 0.8054 (2004), 0.886 (2003), 1.0626 (2002), 1.1175 (2001)
  
  
GDP of Agriculture: 1.00 % GDP of Industry: 24.00 %
GDP of Services: 74.90 %  
   
Inflation Rate: 2.80 % Population in Poverty: 4.00 %
Unemployment Rate: 8.40 % Tourism: 6,369,000.00 visitors each year
   
Consumption by lowest 10%: 3.20 % Budget Revenue in USD: $180,400,000,000 USD
Consumption by upper 10%: 23.00 % Budget Expenditures in USD: $180,500,000,000 USD
   
Electricity Production: 78,770,000,000 kWh Electricity Exports: 8,300,000,000 kWh
Electricity Consumption: 79,660,000,000 kWh Electricity Imports: 14,700,000,000 kWh

Electricity Production by Source:
 
Fossil Fuel Electricity Production: 40.31% Nuclear Electricity Production: 57.66%
Hydro Electricity Production: 0.57% Other Electricity Production: 1.46%
   
Oil Production: 13,060 barrels per day Natural Gas Production: 0 cu m
Oil Consumption: 624,200 barrels per day Natural Gas Consumption: 15,480,000,000 cu m
Oil Exports: 450,000 barrels per day Natural Gas Exports: 0 cu m
Oil Imports: 1,042,000 barrels per day Natural Gas Imports: 15,480,000,000 cu m
Proven Oil Reserves: 0 barrels Proven Natural Gas Reserves: 0 cu m
   
External Debt: $980,100,000,000 USD Received in economic aid: $0 USD
  Donated in economic aid: $1,072,000,000 USD
   
Agricultural Products: sugar beets, fresh vegetables, fruits, grain, tobacco; beef, veal, pork, milk
 
Primary Industries: engineering and metal products, motor vehicle assembly, transportation equipment, scientific instruments, processed food and beverages, chemicals, basic metals, textiles, glass, petroleum
 
Industrial Growth Rate: -0.20 %
  
  
Import Amount in USD: $264,500,000,000 USD - machinery and equipment, chemicals, diamonds, pharmaceuticals, foodstuffs, transportation equipment, oil products
 
Import Partners: Netherlands 17.8%, Germany 17.2%, France 11.4%, UK 6.8%, Ireland 6.5%, US 5.4%
 
Export Amount in USD: $269,600,000,000 USD - machinery and equipment, chemicals, diamonds, metals and metal products, foodstuffs
 
Export Partners: Germany 19.4%, France 17.3%, Netherlands 11.7%, UK 8.2%, US 6.4%, Italy 5.3%
 
    
GINI Index: 25.00%
 
Labor Force Number of People: 4,770,000
 
Labor Force by Occupations: agriculture: 1.3%, industry: 24.5%, services: 74.2%
 
  
 BELGIAN COMMUNICATIONS
  Belgium Facts |  Kingdom of Belgium Information | Belgium Statistics  
 
Radio Broadcast Stations: 87 Number of People with Radios: 8,075,000
Television Broadcast Stations: 25 Number of People with Televisions: 4,720,000
Number of People with Mainline Telephones: 4,801,000 Number of People with Mobile Phones: 9,131,700
 
Internet Service Providers: 2,238,900 Internet Users: 5,100,000
 
Internet Country Code: .be Newspapers: 160
Two Letter Country Code: BE Weights and Measures:
Phone Country Code: 32 Electricity Voltage: 230 Volts
  
Telephone Systems: general assessment: highly developed, technologically advanced, and completely automated domestic and international telephone and telegraph facilities domestic: nationwide cellular telephone system; extensive cable network; limited microwave radio relay network international: country code - 32; submarine cables - 5; satellite earth stations - 7 (Intelsat - 3)
 
  
 BELGIAN TRANSPORTATION
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Highways: 117,110 km Railways: 3,521 km
Gas And Oil Pipelines: 2,178 km Waterways: 2,043 km
Airports: 25 Heliports: 1
 
Motor Vehicles: 504 per 1,000 people CO2 Emissions: 121,975,000 Metric Tons of CO2 per year
  Per capita CO2 emissions: 10.20 Metric Tons of CO2 per year
  
Merchant Marines: total: 66 ships (1000 GRT or over) 3,952,159 GRT/6,521,645 DWT by type: bulk carrier 19, cargo 4, chemical tanker 2, container 10, liquefied gas 15, petroleum tanker 12, roll on/roll off 4 foreign-owned: 10 (Denmark 4, Greece 4, UK 2) registered in other countries: 113 (Antigua and Barbuda 4, Bahamas 13, Bermuda 4, Cyprus 1, French Southern and Antarctic Lands 6, Georgia 1, Gibraltar 2, Greece 12, Hong Kong 3, Luxembourg 9, Malta 10, Mozambique 2, Netherlands 2, Netherlands Antilles 4, Panama 11, Portugal 8, Russia 4, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 3, Singapore 12, Sweden 2)
 
Ports and Harbors: Antwerp, Brussels, Gent, Liege, Oostende, Zeebrugge
 
  
 BELGIAN PEOPLE
  Belgium Facts |  Kingdom of Belgium Information | Belgium Statistics  
 
Population: 10,379,067 people type - nationality Birth Rate: 10.38 births per 1,000 people
Population Density: 338.00 people per sq km Death Rate: 10.27 deaths per 1,000 people
Population Growth: 0.13% per year Fertility Rate per Women: 1.64 babies born per woman
 
Population Male 0-14: 883,254 Population Female 0-14: 846,099
Population Male 15-64: 3,450,879 Population Female 15-64: 3,389,565
Population Male 65+: 746,569 Population Female 65+: 1,062,701
 
Population 0-14: 16.70% Literacy Rate: 99.00%
Population 15-64: 65.90% Literacy rate of Males: 99.00%
Population 65+: 17.40% Literacy rate of Females: 99.00%
 
Population that is Male: 48.00 % Population that is Female: 52.00%
Life expectancy at birth in years: 78.77 years Infant mortality rate - baby deaths per 1000 births: 4.62 Babies die per 1,000 births
Life expectancy at birth for Males: 75.59 years Life expectancy at birth for Females: 82.09 years
 
Rate of AIDS/HIV infection: 0.20% Number of people living with AIDS or HIV: 10,000
Number of people who died of AIDS: 0
   
Disease Risk:
 
Diseases:
 
Net Migration Rate per 1,000 people: 1.22
 
Nationality: BELGIAN
 
Ethnic Groups: Fleming 58%, Walloon 31%, mixed or other 11% 
 
  
Primary Language: Dutch
 
Other Languages: Dutch (official) 60%, French (official) 40%, German (official) less than 1%, legally bilingual (Dutch and French)
 
 
Primary Religion: Roman Catholic
 
Other Religions: Roman Catholic 75%, Protestant or other 25%
 
  
 BELGIAN MILITARY
  Belgium Facts |  Kingdom of Belgium Information | Belgium Statistics  
  
Branches: Belgian Armed Forces: Land, Naval, and Air Operations Commands
 
Manpower Fit to Serve: 16 years
 
Manpower Available: 4,806,199 People
 
Manpower Fit to Serve: 3,938,951 People
 
Amount of Manpower Available each Year: 125,665 People per year
 
Expenditures: $3,999,000,000 USD per year
 
Expenditures as a Percentage of GDP: 1.30
 
 
Note: Phrasebase uses a variety of sources when compiling the facts and information presented above. This information is continually updated throughout the year.
 BELGIAN RESOURCES
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