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Belgium (2001)

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Belgium 2001 year

Administrative divisions 10 provinces (French: provinces, singular - province; Flemish: provincien, singular - provincie); Antwerpen, Brabant Wallon, Hainaut, Liege, Limburg, Luxembourg, Namur, Oost-Vlaanderen, Vlaams Brabant, West-Vlaanderen; note - the Brussels Capitol Region is not included within the 10 provinces
Age structure 0-14 years:
17.48% (male 916,957; female 876,029)

15-64 years:
65.57% (male 3,390,145; female 3,336,908)

65 years and over:
16.95% (male 709,212; female 1,029,511) (2001 est.)
Agriculture - products sugar beets, fresh vegetables, fruits, grain, tobacco; beef, veal, pork, milk
Airports 42 (2000 est.)
Airports - with paved runways total:

over 3,047 m:

2,438 to 3,047 m:

1,524 to 2,437 m:

914 to 1,523 m:

under 914 m:
6 (2000 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways total:

914 to 1,523 m:

under 914 m:
16 (2000 est.)
Area total:
30,510 sq km

30,230 sq km

280 sq km
Area - comparative about the size of Maryland
Background Belgium became independent from the Netherlands in 1830 and was occupied by Germany during World Wars I and II. It has 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.
Birth rate 10.74 births/1,000 population (2001 est.)
Budget revenues:
$114.8 billion

$117 billion, including capital expenditures of $7.6 billion (1999)
Capital Brussels
Climate temperate; mild winters, cool summers; rainy, humid, cloudy
Coastline 66 km
Constitution 7 February 1831, last revised 14 July 1993; parliament approved a constitutional package creating a federal state
Country name conventional long form:
Kingdom of Belgium

conventional short form:

local long form:
Royaume de Belgique/Koninkrijk Belgie

local short form:
Currency Belgian franc (BEF); euro (EUR)

on 1 January 1999, the EU introduced the euro as a common currency that is now being used by financial institutions in Belgium at a fixed rate of 40.3399 Belgian francs per euro and will replace the local currency for all transactions in 2002
Death rate 10.1 deaths/1,000 population (2001 est.)
Debt - external $28.3 billion (1999 est.)
Diplomatic representation from the US chief of mission:
Ambassador (vacant)

27 Boulevard du Regent, B-1000 Brussels

mailing address:
PSC 82, Box 002, APO AE 09710

[32] (2) 508-2111

[32] (2) 511-2725
Diplomatic representation in the US chief of mission:
Ambassador Alexis REYN

3330 Garfield Street NW, Washington, DC 20008

[1] (202) 333-6900

[1] (202) 333-3079

consulate(s) general:
Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York
Disputes - international none
Economic aid - donor ODA, $764 million (1997)
Economy - 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, although the government is encouraging investment in the southern region of Wallonia. 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. About three-quarters of its trade is with other EU countries. Belgium's public debt is expected to fall below 100% of GDP in 2002, and the government has succeeded in balancing is budget. Belgium became a charter member of the European Monetary Union (EMU) in January 1999. Economic growth in 2000 was broad based, putting the government in a good position to pursue its energy market liberalization policies and planned tax cuts.
Electricity - consumption 75.089 billion kWh (1999)
Electricity - exports 8.207 billion kWh (1999)
Electricity - imports 9.055 billion kWh (1999)
Electricity - production 79.829 billion kWh (1999)
Electricity - production by source fossil fuel:



1.24% (1999)
Elevation extremes lowest point:
North Sea 0 m

highest point:
Signal de Botrange 694 m
Environment - current 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 impeded progress in tackling environmental challenges
Environment - international agreements party to:
Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Sulphur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Air Pollution-Sulphur 85, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified:
Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol
Ethnic groups Fleming 58%, Walloon 31%, mixed or other 11%
Exchange rates euros per US dollar - 1.0659 (January 2001), 1.0854 (2000), 0.9386 (1999); Belgian francs per US dollar - 34.77 (January 1999), 36.229 (1998), 35.774 (1997), 30.962 (1996)
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)

Council of Ministers appointed by the monarch and approved by Parliament

none; the monarch is hereditary; prime minister appointed by the monarch and then approved by Parliament

government coalition - VLD, PRL, PS, SP, AGALEV, and ECOLO
Exports 8.207 billion kWh (1999)
Exports $181.4 billion (f.o.b., 2000)
Exports - commodities machinery and equipment, chemicals, diamonds, metals and metal products
Exports - partners EU 76% (Germany 18%, France 18%, Netherlands 12%, UK 10%) (1999)
Fiscal year calendar year
Flag description three equal vertical bands of black (hoist side), yellow, and red; the design was based on the flag of France
GDP purchasing power parity - $259.2 billion (2000 est.)
GDP - composition by sector agriculture:


72.6% (2000 est.)
GDP - per capita purchasing power parity - $25,300 (2000 est.)
GDP - real growth rate 4.1% (2000 est.)
Geographic coordinates 50 50 N, 4 00 E
Geography - note crossroads of Western Europe; majority of West European capitals within 1,000 km of Brussels which is the seat of both the EU and NATO
Heliports 1 (2000 est.)
Highways total:
145,774 km

116,182 km (including 1,674 km of expressways)

29,592 km (1999)
Household income or consumption by percentage share lowest 10%:

highest 10%:
20.2% (1992)
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
Imports 9.055 billion kWh (1999)
Imports $166 billion (c.i.f., 2000)
Imports - commodities machinery and equipment, chemicals, metals and metal products
Imports - partners EU 71% (Germany 18%, Netherlands 17%, France 14%, UK 9%) (1999)
Independence 21 July 1831 (from the Netherlands)
Industrial production growth rate 5.5% (2000 est.)
Industries engineering and metal products, motor vehicle assembly, processed food and beverages, chemicals, basic metals, textiles, glass, petroleum, coal
Infant mortality rate 4.7 deaths/1,000 live births (2001 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices) 2.2% (2000 est.)
International organization participation ACCT, AfDB, AsDB, Australia Group, Benelux, BIS, CCC, CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, ECE, EIB, EMU, ESA, EU, FAO, G- 9, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, MINURSO, MONUC, NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNMIK, UNMOGIP, UNMOP, UNRWA, UNTSO, UPU, WADB (nonregional), WCL, WEU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO, ZC
Internet Service Providers (ISPs) 61 (2000)
Irrigated land NA sq km
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 monarch)
Labor force 4.34 million (1999)
Labor force - by occupation services 73%, industry 25%, agriculture 2% (1999 est.)
Land boundaries total:
1,385 km

border countries:
France 620 km, Germany 167 km, Luxembourg 148 km, Netherlands 450 km
Land use arable land:

permanent crops:

permanent pastures:

forests and woodland:

Languages Dutch 58%, French 32%, German 10%, legally bilingual (Dutch and French)
Legal system civil law system influenced by English constitutional theory; judicial review of legislative acts; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations
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)

Senate and Chamber of Deputies - last held 13 June 1999 (next to be held in NA 2003)

election results:
Senate - percent of vote by party - VLD 15.4%, CVP 14.7%, PRL 10.6%, PS 9.7%, VB 9.4%, SP 8.9%, ECOLO 7.4%, AGALEV 7.1%, PSC 6.0%, VU 5.1%; seats by party - VLD 11, CVP 10, PS 10, PRL 9, VB 6, SP 6, ECOLO 6, AGALEV 5, PSC 5, VU 3; Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by party - VLD 14.3%, CVP 14.1%, PS 10.2%, PRL 10.1%, VB 9.9%, SP 9.5%, ECOLO 7.4%, AGALEV 7.0%, PSC 5.9%, VU 5.6%; seats by party - VLD 23, CVP 22, PS 19, PRL 18, VB 15, SP 14, ECOLO 11, PSC 10, AGALEV 9, VU 8, FN 1

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; for other acronyms of the listed parties see Political parties and leaders
Life expectancy at birth total population:
77.96 years

74.63 years

81.46 years (2001 est.)
Literacy definition:
age 15 and over can read and write

total population:


Location Western Europe, bordering the North Sea, between France and the Netherlands
Map references Europe
Maritime claims continental shelf:
median line with neighbors

exclusive fishing zone:
median line with neighbors (extends about 68 km from coast)

territorial sea:
12 NM
Merchant marine total:
21 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 32,912 GRT/53,161 DWT

ships by type:
cargo 6, chemical tanker 9, petroleum tanker 6 (2000 est.)
Military branches Army, Navy, Air Force, National Gendarmerie, Medical Service
Military expenditures - dollar figure $2.5 billion (FY01)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP 1.2% (FY99)
Military manpower - availability males age 15-49:
2,517,596 (2001 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service males age 15-49:
2,079,624 (2001 est.)
Military manpower - military age 19 years of age
Military manpower - reaching military age annually males:
63,247 (2001 est.)
National holiday Independence Day, 21 July (1831)
Nationality noun:

Natural hazards flooding is a threat in areas of reclaimed coastal land, protected from the sea by concrete dikes
Natural resources coal, natural gas
Net migration rate 0.97 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2001 est.)
Pipelines crude oil 161 km; petroleum products 1,167 km; natural gas 3,300 km
Political parties and leaders AGALEV (Flemish Greens) [Dos GEYSELS]; ECOLO (Francophone Greens) [no president]; Flemish Christian Democrats or CVP (Christian People's Party) [Stefaan DE CLERCK, president]; Flemish Liberal Democrats or VLD [Karel DE GUCHT, president]; Flemish Socialist Party or SP [Patrick JANSSENS, president]; Francophone Christian Democrats or PSC (Social Christian Party) [Joelle MILQUET, president]; Francophone Liberal Reformation Party or PRL [Daniel DUCARME, president]; Francophone Socialist Party or PS [Elio DI RUPO, president]; National Front or FN [Daniel FERET]; Vlaams Blok or VB [Frank VANHECKE]; Volksunie or VU [leader vacant]; other minor parties
Political pressure groups and leaders Christian and Socialist Trade Unions; Federation of Belgian Industries; numerous other associations representing bankers, manufacturers, middle-class artisans, and the legal and medical professions; various organizations represent the cultural interests of Flanders and Wallonia; various peace groups such as Pax Christi and groups representing immigrants
Population 10,258,762 (July 2001 est.)
Population below poverty line 4%
Population growth rate 0.16% (2001 est.)
Ports and harbors Antwerp (one of the world's busiest ports), Brugge, Gent, Hasselt, Liege, Mons, Namur, Oostende, Zeebrugge
Radio broadcast stations FM 79, AM 7, shortwave 1 (1998)
Radios 8.075 million (1997)
Railways total:
3,437 km (2,446 km electrified; 2,563 km double track)

standard gauge:
3,437 km 1.435-m gauge (1998)
Religions Roman Catholic 75%, Protestant or other 25%
Sex ratio at birth:
1.05 male(s)/female

under 15 years:
1.05 male(s)/female

15-64 years:
1.02 male(s)/female

65 years and over:
0.69 male(s)/female

total population:
0.96 male(s)/female (2001 est.)
Suffrage 18 years of age; universal and compulsory
Telephone system general assessment:
highly developed, technologically advanced, and completely automated domestic and international telephone and telegraph facilities

nationwide cellular telephone system; extensive cable network; limited microwave radio relay network

5 submarine cables; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) and 1 Eutelsat
Telephones - main lines in use 4.769 million (1997)
Telephones - mobile cellular 974,494 (1997)
Television broadcast stations 25 (plus 10 repeaters) (1997)
Terrain flat coastal plains in northwest, central rolling hills, rugged mountains of Ardennes Forest in southeast
Total fertility rate 1.61 children born/woman (2001 est.)
Unemployment rate 8.4% (2000 est.)
Waterways 2,043 km (1,528 km in regular commercial use)
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