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Belgium (2005)

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Belgium 2005 year

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
Age structure 0-14 years: 16.9% (male 892,995/female 855,177)

15-64 years: 65.7% (male 3,435,282/female 3,373,917)

65 years and over: 17.4% (male 745,178/female 1,061,839) (2005 est.)
Agriculture - products sugar beets, fresh vegetables, fruits, grain, tobacco; beef, veal, pork, milk
Airports 43 (2004 est.)
Airports - with paved runways total: 25

over 3,047 m: 6

2,438 to 3,047 m: 8

1,524 to 2,437 m: 3

914 to 1,523 m: 1

under 914 m: 7 (2004 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways total: 18

914 to 1,523 m: 2

under 914 m: 16 (2004 est.)
Area total: 30,528 sq km

land: 30,278 sq km

water: 250 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 10.48 births/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Budget revenues: $173.7 billion

expenditures: $174.8 billion, including capital expenditures of $1.56 billion (2004 est.)
Capital Brussels
Climate temperate; mild winters, cool summers; rainy, humid, cloudy
Coastline 66.5 km
Constitution 7 February 1831; amended many times; revised 14 July 1993 to create a federal state
Country name conventional long form: Kingdom of Belgium

conventional short form: Belgium

local long form: Royaume de Belgique/Koninkrijk Belgie

local short form: Belgique/Belgie
Death rate 10.22 deaths/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Debt - external $28.3 billion (1999 est.)
Diplomatic representation from the US chief of mission: Ambassador Tom C. KOROLOGOS

embassy: Regentlaan 27 Boulevard du Regent, B-1000 Brussels

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

telephone: [32] (2) 508-2111

FAX: [32] (2) 511-2725
Diplomatic representation in the US chief of mission: Ambassador Franciskus VAN DAELE

chancery: 3330 Garfield Street NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone: [1] (202) 333-6900

FAX: [1] (202) 333-3079

consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Los Angeles, and New York
Disputes - international none
Economic aid - donor ODA, $1.072 billion (2002)
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. 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.
Electricity - consumption 78.82 billion kWh (2002)
Electricity - exports 9.1 billion kWh (2002)
Electricity - imports 16.7 billion kWh (2002)
Electricity - production 76.58 billion kWh (2002)
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, extensive 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
Environment - international 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
Ethnic groups Fleming 58%, Walloon 31%, mixed or other 11%
Exchange rates euros per US dollar - 0.8054 (2004), 0.886 (2003), 1.0626 (2002), 1.1175 (2001), 1.0854 (2000)
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; 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
Exports 9.1 billion kWh (2002)
Exports $255.7 billion f.o.b. (2003 est.)
Exports 0 cu m (2001 est.)
Exports 450,000 bbl/day (2001)
Exports - commodities machinery and equipment, chemicals, diamonds, metals and metal products, foodstuffs
Exports - partners Germany 19.9%, France 17.2%, Netherlands 11.8%, UK 8.6%, US 6.5%, Italy 5.2% (2004)
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 - composition by sector agriculture: 1.3%

industry: 25.7%

services: 73% (2004 est.)
GDP - per capita purchasing power parity - $30,600 (2004 est.)
GDP - real growth rate 2.6% (2004 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, the seat of both the European Union and NATO
Heliports 1 (2004 est.)
Highways total: 149,028 km

paved: 116,540 km (including 1,729 km of expressways)

unpaved: 32,488 km (2002)
Household income or consumption by percentage share lowest 10%: 3.2%

highest 10%: 23% (1996)
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
Imports 16.7 billion kWh (2002)
Imports $235 billion f.o.b. (2003 est.)
Imports 15.4 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Imports 1.042 million bbl/day (2001)
Imports - commodities machinery and equipment, chemicals, diamonds, pharmaceuticals, foodstuffs, transportation equipment, oil products
Imports - partners Germany 18.4%, Netherlands 17%, France 12.5%, UK 6.8%, Ireland 6.3%, US 5.5% (2004)
Independence 4 October 1830 (a provisional government declares independence from the Netherlands); 21 July 1831 (King Leopold I ascends to the throne)
Industrial production growth rate 3.5% (2004 est.)
Industries engineering and metal products, motor vehicle assembly, transportation equipment, scientific instruments, processed food and beverages, chemicals, basic metals, textiles, glass, petroleum
Infant mortality rate total: 4.68 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 5.27 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 4.06 deaths/1,000 live births (2005 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices) 1.9% (2004 est.)
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, ISO, ITU, MIGA, MONUC, NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, ONUB, OPCW, OSCE, Paris Club, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNMIK, UNMOGIP, UNRWA, UNTSO, UPU, WADB (nonregional), WCL, WCO, WEU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
Irrigated land 40 sq km (includes Luxembourg) (1998 est.)
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)
Labor force 4.75 million (2004 est.)
Labor force - by occupation agriculture 1.3%, industry 24.5%, services 74.2% (2003 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: 23.28%

permanent crops: 0.4%

other: 76.32%

note: includes Luxembourg (2001)
Languages Dutch (official) 60%, French (official) 40%, German (official) less than 1%, 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)

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
Life expectancy at birth total population: 78.62 years

male: 75.44 years

female: 81.94 years (2005 est.)
Literacy definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 98%

male: NA%

female: NA%
Location Western Europe, bordering the North Sea, between France and the Netherlands
Map references Europe
Maritime claims territorial sea: 12 nm

exclusive economic zone: geographic coordinates define outer limit

continental shelf: median line with neighbors
Merchant marine total: 53 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 1,146,301 GRT/1,588,184 DWT

by type: bulk carrier 15, cargo 2, chemical tanker 2, container 8, liquefied gas 17, petroleum tanker 9

foreign-owned: 12 (Denmark 4, France 4, Greece 4)

registered in other countries: 101 (2005)
Military branches Land, Naval, and Air Components (2005)
Military expenditures - dollar figure $3.999 billion (2003)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP 1.3% (2003)
National holiday 21 July (1831) ascension to the Throne of King Leopold I
Nationality noun: Belgian(s)

adjective: Belgian
Natural hazards flooding is a threat along rivers and in areas of reclaimed coastal land, protected from the sea by concrete dikes
Natural resources construction materials, silica sand, carbonates
Net migration rate 1.23 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Pipelines gas 1,485 km; oil 158 km; refined products 535 km (2004)
Political parties and 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 [Caroline GENNEZ]; 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, Evelyne HUYTEBROECK, Claude BROUIR]; Humanist and Democratic Center of CDH [Joelle MILQUET]; National Front or FN [Daniel FERET]; Reformist Movement or MR [Didier REYNDERS]; Socialist Party or PS [Elio DI RUPO]; other minor parties
Political pressure groups and leaders Christian, Socialist, and Liberal 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 10,364,388 (July 2005 est.)
Population below poverty line 4% (1989 est.)
Population growth rate 0.15% (2005 est.)
Ports and harbors Antwerp, Brussels, Gent, Liege, Oostende, Zeebrugge
Radio broadcast stations FM 79, AM 7, shortwave 1 (1998)
Railways total: 3,521 km

standard gauge: 3,521 km 1.435-m gauge (2,927 km electrified) (2004)
Religions Roman Catholic 75%, Protestant or other 25%
Sex ratio at birth: 1.04 male(s)/female

under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female

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

65 years and over: 0.7 male(s)/female

total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2005 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

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

international: country code - 32; 5 submarine cables; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) and 1 Eutelsat
Telephones - main lines in use 5,120,400 (2002)
Telephones - mobile cellular 8,135,500 (2002)
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 1.64 children born/woman (2005 est.)
Unemployment rate 12% (first half, 2004)
Waterways 2,043 km (1,528 km in regular commercial use) (2003)
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