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France vs. Belgium

Introduction

FranceBelgium
BackgroundFrance today is one of the most modern countries in the world and is a leader among European nations. It plays an influential global role as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, NATO, the G-7, the G-20, the EU, and other multilateral organizations. France rejoined NATO's integrated military command structure in 2009, reversing DE GAULLE's 1966 decision to withdraw French forces from NATO. Since 1958, it has constructed a hybrid presidential-parliamentary governing system resistant to the instabilities experienced in earlier, more purely parliamentary administrations. In recent decades, its reconciliation and cooperation with Germany have proved central to the economic integration of Europe, including the introduction of a common currency, the euro, in January 1999. In the early 21st century, five French overseas entities - French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Mayotte, and Reunion - became French regions and were made part of France proper.
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. In recent years, political divisions between the Dutch-speaking Flemish of the north and the French-speaking Walloons of the south have led to constitutional amendments granting these regions formal recognition and autonomy. The capital city of Brussels is home to numerous international organizations including the EU and NATO.

Geography

FranceBelgium
Locationmetropolitan France: Western Europe, bordering the Bay of Biscay and English Channel, between Belgium and Spain, southeast of the UK; bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Italy and Spain
French Guiana: Northern South America, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Brazil and Suriname
Guadeloupe: Caribbean, islands between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, southeast of Puerto Rico
Martinique: Caribbean, island between the Caribbean Sea and North Atlantic Ocean, north of Trinidad and Tobago
Mayotte: Southern Indian Ocean, island in the Mozambique Channel, about halfway between northern Madagascar and northern Mozambique
Reunion: Southern Africa, island in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar
Western Europe, bordering the North Sea, between France and the Netherlands
Geographic coordinatesmetropolitan France: 46 00 N, 2 00 E
French Guiana: 4 00 N, 53 00 W
Guadeloupe: 16 15 N, 61 35 W
Martinique: 14 40 N, 61 00 W
Mayotte: 12 50 S, 45 10 E
Reunion: 21 06 S, 55 36 E
50 50 N, 4 00 E
Map referencesmetropolitan France: Europe
French Guiana: South America
Guadeloupe: Central America and the Caribbean
Martinique: Central America and the Caribbean
Mayotte: Africa
Reunion: World
Europe
Areatotal: 643,801 sq km; 551,500 sq km (metropolitan France)
land: 640,427 sq km; 549,970 sq km (metropolitan France)
water: 3,374 sq km; 1,530 sq km (metropolitan France)
note: the first numbers include the overseas regions of French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Mayotte, and Reunion
total: 30,528 sq km
land: 30,278 sq km
water: 250 sq km
Area - comparativeslightly more than four times the size of Georgia; slightly less than the size of Texas
about the size of Maryland
Land boundariesmetropolitan France - total: 2,751 km
border countries (8): Andorra 55 km, Belgium 556 km, Germany 418 km, Italy 476 km, Luxembourg 69 km, Monaco 6 km, Spain 646 km, Switzerland 525 km
French Guiana - total: 1,205 km
border countries (2): Brazil 649 km, Suriname 556 km
total: 1,297 km
border countries (4): France 556 km, Germany 133 km, Luxembourg 130 km, Netherlands 478 km
Coastlinetotal: 4,853 km
metropolitan France: 3,427 km
66.5 km
Maritime claimsterritorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm (does not apply to the Mediterranean Sea)
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: geographic coordinates define outer limit
continental shelf: median line with neighbors
Climatemetropolitan France: generally cool winters and mild summers, but mild winters and hot summers along the Mediterranean; occasional strong, cold, dry, north-to-northwesterly wind known as mistral
French Guiana: tropical; hot, humid; little seasonal temperature variation
Guadeloupe and Martinique: subtropical tempered by trade winds; moderately high humidity; rainy season (June to October); vulnerable to devastating cyclones (hurricanes) every eight years on average
Mayotte: tropical; marine; hot, humid, rainy season during northeastern monsoon (November to May); dry season is cooler (May to November)
Reunion: tropical, but temperature moderates with elevation; cool and dry (May to November), hot and rainy (November to April)
temperate; mild winters, cool summers; rainy, humid, cloudy
Terrainmetropolitan France: mostly flat plains or gently rolling hills in north and west; remainder is mountainous, especially Pyrenees in south, Alps in east
French Guiana: low-lying coastal plains rising to hills and small mountains
Guadeloupe: Basse-Terre is volcanic in origin with interior mountains; Grande-Terre is low limestone formation; most of the seven other islands are volcanic in origin
Martinique: mountainous with indented coastline; dormant volcano
Mayotte: generally undulating, with deep ravines and ancient volcanic peaks
Reunion: mostly rugged and mountainous; fertile lowlands along coast
flat coastal plains in northwest, central rolling hills, rugged mountains of Ardennes Forest in southeast
Elevation extremesmean elevation: 375 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Rhone River delta -2 m
highest point: Mont Blanc 4,810 m
note: to assess the possible effects of climate change on the ice and snow cap of Mont Blanc, its surface and peak have been extensively measured in recent years; these new peak measurements have exceeded the traditional height of 4,807 m and have varied between 4,808 m and 4,811 m; the actual rock summit is 4,792 m and is 40 m away from the ice-covered summit
mean elevation: 181 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: North Sea 0 m
highest point: Botrange 694 m
Natural resourcesmetropolitan France: coal, iron ore, bauxite, zinc, uranium, antimony, arsenic, potash, feldspar, fluorspar, gypsum, timber, arable land, fish
French Guiana: gold deposits, petroleum, kaolin, niobium, tantalum, clay
construction materials, silica sand, carbonates, arable land
Land useagricultural land: 52.7%
arable land 33.4%; permanent crops 1.8%; permanent pasture 17.5%
forest: 29.2%
other: 18.1% (2011 est.)
agricultural land: 44.1%
arable land 27.2%; permanent crops 0.8%; permanent pasture 16.1%
forest: 22.4%
other: 33.5% (2011 est.)
Irrigated landtotal: 26,420 sq km 26,950 sq km
metropolitan France: 26,000 sq km (2012)
230 sq km (2012)
Natural hazardsmetropolitan France: flooding; avalanches; midwinter windstorms; drought; forest fires in south near the Mediterranean
overseas departments: hurricanes (cyclones); flooding
volcanism: Montagne Pelee (1,394 m) on the island of Martinique in the Caribbean is the most active volcano of the Lesser Antilles arc, it last erupted in 1932; a catastrophic eruption in May 1902 destroyed the city of St. Pierre, killing an estimated 30,000 people; La Soufriere (1,467 m) on the island of Guadeloupe in the Caribbean last erupted from July 1976 to March 1977; these volcanoes are part of the volcanic island arc of the Lesser Antilles that extends from Saba in the north to Grenada in the south
flooding is a threat along rivers and in areas of reclaimed coastal land, protected from the sea by concrete dikes
Environment - current issuessome forest damage from acid rain; air pollution from industrial and vehicle emissions; water pollution from urban wastes, agricultural runoff
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
Environment - international agreementsparty to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, 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, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, 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, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - notelargest West European nation; most major French rivers - the Meuse, Seine, Loire, Charente, Dordogne, and Garonne - flow northward or westward into the Atlantic Ocean, only the Rhone flows southward into the Mediterranean Sea
crossroads of Western Europe; most West European capitals are within 1,000 km of Brussels, the seat of both the European Union and NATO
Population distributionmuch of the population is concentrated in the north and southeast; although there are many urban agglomerations throughout the country, Paris is by far the largest city, with Lyon ranked a distant second
most of the population concentrated in the northern two-thirds of the country; the southeast is more thinly populated; considered to have one of the highest population densities in the world; approximately 97% live in urban areas

Demographics

FranceBelgium
Population67,106,161
note: the above figure is for metropolitan France and five overseas regions; the metropolitan France population is 62,814,233 (July 2017 est.)
11,491,346 (July 2017 est.)
Age structure0-14 years: 18.53% (male 6,360,218/female 6,076,598)
15-24 years: 11.79% (male 4,045,901/female 3,864,395)
25-54 years: 37.78% (male 12,773,900/female 12,578,256)
55-64 years: 12.42% (male 4,020,507/female 4,315,407)
65 years and over: 19.48% (male 5,648,888/female 7,422,091) (2017 est.)
0-14 years: 17.16% (male 1,010,201/female 961,994)
15-24 years: 11.34% (male 665,483/female 637,700)
25-54 years: 40.05% (male 2,320,845/female 2,281,411)
55-64 years: 12.86% (male 732,062/female 746,212)
65 years and over: 18.58% (male 929,594/female 1,205,844) (2017 est.)
Median agetotal: 41.4 years
male: 39.6 years
female: 43.1 years (2017 est.)
total: 41.4 years
male: 40.2 years
female: 42.7 years (2017 est.)
Population growth rate0.39% (2017 est.)
0.7% (2017 est.)
Birth rate12.2 births/1,000 population (2017 est.)
11.3 births/1,000 population (2017 est.)
Death rate9.3 deaths/1,000 population (2017 est.)
9.7 deaths/1,000 population (2017 est.)
Net migration rate1.1 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2017 est.)
5.4 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2017 est.)
Sex ratioat birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.93 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.75 male(s)/female
total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.76 male(s)/female
total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
Infant mortality ratetotal: 3.2 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 3.6 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 2.9 deaths/1,000 live births (2017 est.)
total: 3.4 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 3.8 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 3 deaths/1,000 live births (2017 est.)
Life expectancy at birthtotal population: 81.9 years
male: 78.8 years
female: 85.2 years (2017 est.)
total population: 81.1 years
male: 78.5 years
female: 83.8 years (2017 est.)
Total fertility rate2.07 children born/woman (2017 est.)
1.78 children born/woman (2017 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate0.4% (2016 est.)
NA
Nationalitynoun: Frenchman(men), Frenchwoman(women)
adjective: French
noun: Belgian(s)
adjective: Belgian
Ethnic groupsCeltic and Latin with Teutonic, Slavic, North African, Indochinese, Basque minorities
overseas departments: black, white, mulatto, East Indian, Chinese, Amerindian
Belgian 75%, Italian 4.1%, Moroccan 3.7%, French 2.4%, Turkish 2%, Dutch 2%, other 12.8% (2011 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS180,000 (2016 est.)
NA
ReligionsChristian (overwhelmingly Roman Catholic) 63-66%, Muslim 7-9%, Buddhist 0.5-0.75%, Jewish 0.5-0.75%, other 0.5-1.0%, none 23-28%
note: France maintains a tradition of secularism and has not officially collected data on religious affiliation since the 1872 national census, which complicates assessments of France's religious composition; an 1872 law prohibiting state authorities from collecting data on individuals' ethnicity or religious beliefs was reaffirmed by a 1978 law emphasizing the prohibition of the collection or exploitation of personal data revealing an individual's race, ethnicity, or political, philosophical, or religious opinions; a 1905 law codified France's separation of church and state (2015 est.)
Roman Catholic 50%, Protestant and other Christian 2.5%, Muslim 5%, Jewish 0.4%, Buddhist 0.3%, atheist 9.2%, none 32.6% (2009 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths<1000 (2016 est.)
NA
LanguagesFrench (official) 100%, declining regional dialects and languages (Provencal, Breton, Alsatian, Corsican, Catalan, Basque, Flemish, Occitan, Picard)
overseas departments: French, Creole patois, Mahorian (a Swahili dialect)
Dutch (official) 60%, French (official) 40%, German (official) less than 1%
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)total: 16 years
male: 16 years
female: 17 years (2014)
total: 20 years
male: 19 years
female: 21 years (2014)
Education expenditures5.5% of GDP (2013)
6.4% of GDP (2011)
Urbanizationurban population: 80% of total population (2017)
rate of urbanization: 0.76% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
urban population: 97.9% of total population (2017)
rate of urbanization: 0.36% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
Drinking water sourceimproved:
urban: 100% of population
rural: 100% of population
total: 100% of population
unimproved:
urban: 0% of population
rural: 0% of population
total: 0% of population (2015 est.)
improved:
urban: 100% of population
rural: 100% of population
total: 100% of population
unimproved:
urban: 0% of population
rural: 0% of population
total: 0% of population (2015 est.)
Sanitation facility accessimproved:
urban: 98.6% of population
rural: 98.9% of population
total: 98.7% of population
unimproved:
urban: 1.4% of population
rural: 1.1% of population
total: 1.3% of population (2015 est.)
improved:
urban: 99.5% of population
rural: 99.4% of population
total: 99.5% of population
unimproved:
urban: 0.5% of population
rural: 0.6% of population
total: 0.5% of population (2015 est.)
Major cities - populationPARIS (capital) 10.843 million; Lyon 1.609 million; Marseille-Aix-en-Provence 1.605 million; Lille 1.027 million; Nice-Cannes 967,000; Toulouse 938,000 (2015)
BRUSSELS (capital) 2.045 million; Antwerp 994,000 (2015)
Maternal mortality rate8 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
7 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
Health expenditures11.5% of GDP (2014)
10.6% of GDP (2014)
Physicians density3.23 physicians/1,000 population (2015)
2.97 physicians/1,000 population (2014)
Hospital bed density6.4 beds/1,000 population (2011)
6.5 beds/1,000 population (2012)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate21.6% (2016)
22.1% (2016)
Mother's mean age at first birth28.1 years (2010 est.)
28.6 years (2013 est.)
Contraceptive prevalence rate83% (2010/11)
66.8%
note: percent of women aged 15-54 (2013)
Dependency ratiostotal dependency ratio: 59.2
youth dependency ratio: 29.1
elderly dependency ratio: 30.2
potential support ratio: 3.3 (2015 est.)
total dependency ratio: 54.2
youth dependency ratio: 26.2
elderly dependency ratio: 28
potential support ratio: 3.6 (2015 est.)

Government

FranceBelgium
Country name"conventional long form: French Republic
conventional short form: France
local long form: Republique francaise
local short form: France
etymology: name derives from the Latin ""Francia"" meaning ""Land of the Franks""; the Franks were a group of Germanic tribes located along the middle and lower Rhine River in the 3rd century A.D. who merged with Gallic-Roman populations in succeeding centuries and to whom they passed on their name
"
conventional long form: Kingdom of Belgium
conventional short form: Belgium
local long form: Royaume de Belgique (French)/Koninkrijk Belgie (Dutch)/Koenigreich Belgien (German)
local short form: Belgique/Belgie/Belgien
etymology: the name derives from the Belgae, an ancient Celtic tribal confederation that inhabited an area between the English Channel and the west bank of the Rhine in the first centuries B.C.
Government typesemi-presidential republic
federal parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarchy
Capitalname: Paris
geographic coordinates: 48 52 N, 2 20 E
time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
note: applies to metropolitan France only, not to its overseas departments, collectivities, or territories
name: Brussels
geographic coordinates: 50 50 N, 4 20 E
time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
Administrative divisions"18 regions (regions, singular - region); Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes, Bourgogne-Franche-Comte (Burgundy-Free County), Bretagne (Brittany), Centre-Val de Loire (Center-Loire Valley), Corse (Corsica), Grand Est (Grand East), Guadeloupe, Guyane (French Guiana), Hauts-de-France (Upper France), Ile-de-France, Martinique, Mayotte, Normandie (Normandy), Nouvelle-Aquitaine (New Aquitaine), Occitanie (Occitania), Pays de la Loire (Lands of the Loire), Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur, Reunion
note: France is divided into 13 metropolitan regions (including the ""territorial collectivity"" of Corse or Corsica) and 5 overseas regions (French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Mayotte, and Reunion) and is subdivided into 96 metropolitan departments and 5 overseas departments (which are the same as the overseas regions)
"
3 regions (French: regions, singular - region; Dutch: gewesten, singular - gewest); Brussels-Capital Region, also known as Brussels Hoofdstedelijk Gewest (Dutch), Region de Bruxelles-Capitale (French long form), Bruxelles-Capitale (French short form); Flemish Region (Flanders), also known as Vlaams Gewest (Dutch long form), Vlaanderen (Dutch short form), Region Flamande (French long form), Flandre (French short form); Walloon Region (Wallonia), also known as Region Wallone (French long form), Wallonie (French short form), Waals Gewest (Dutch long form), Wallonie (Dutch short form)
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; the 2012 sixth state reform transferred additional competencies from the federal state to the regions and linguistic communities
Independenceno official date of independence: 486 (Frankish tribes unified under Merovingian kingship); 10 August 843 (Western Francia established from the division of the Carolingian Empire); 14 July 1789 (French monarchy overthrown); 22 September 1792 (First French Republic founded); 4 October 1958 (Fifth French Republic established)
4 October 1830 (a provisional government declared independence from the Netherlands); 21 July 1831 (King LEOPOLD I ascended to the throne)
National holidayFete de la Federation, 14 July (1790); note - although often incorrectly referred to as Bastille Day, the celebration actually commemorates the holiday held on the first anniversary of the storming of the Bastille (on 14 July 1789) and the establishment of a constitutional monarchy; other names for the holiday are Fete Nationale (National Holiday) and quatorze juillet (14th of July)
Belgian National Day (ascension to the throne of King LEOPOLD I), 21 July (1831)
Constitutionhistory: many previous; latest effective 4 October 1958
amendments: proposed by the president of the republic (upon recommendation of the prime minister and Parliament) or by Parliament; proposals submitted by Parliament members require passage by both houses followed by approval in a referendum; passage of proposals submitted by the government can bypass a referendum if submitted by the president to Parliament and passed by at least three-fifths majority vote by Parliament’s National Assembly; amended many times, last in 2008 (2016)
"history: drafted 25 November 1830, approved 7 February 1831, entered into force 26 July 1831, revised 14 July 1993 (creating a federal state)
amendments: ""revisions"" proposed as declarations by the federal government in accord with the king or by Parliament followed by dissolution of Parliament and new elections; adoption requires two-thirds majority vote of a two-thirds quorum in both houses of the next elected Parliament; amended many times, last in 2014 (2016)
"
Legal systemcivil law; review of administrative but not legislative acts
civil law system based on the French Civil Code; note - Belgian law continues to be modified in conformance with the legislative norms mandated by the European Union; judicial review of legislative acts
Suffrage18 years of age; universal
18 years of age; universal and compulsory
Executive branchchief of state: President Emmanuel MACRON (since 14 May 2017)
head of government: Prime Minister Edouard PHILIPPE (since 15 May 2017)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president at the suggestion of the prime minister
elections/appointments: president directly elected by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 23 April with a runoff on 7 May 2017 (next to be held in April 2022); prime minister appointed by the president
election results: Emmanuel MACRON elected president in second round; percent of vote in first round - Emmanuel MACRON (EM) 24.0%, Marine LE PEN (FN) 21.3%, Francois FILLON (LR) 20.0%, Jean-Luc MELENCHON (FI) 19.6%, Benoit HAMON (PS) 6.4%, other 8.7%; percent of vote in second round - MACRON 66.1%, LE PEN 33.9%
chief of state: King PHILIPPE (since 21 July 2013); Heir Apparent Princess ELISABETH, daughter of the monarch
head of government: Prime Minister Charles MICHEL (since 11 October 2014); Deputy Prime Ministers Alexander DE CROO (since 22 October 2012), Jan JAMBON (since 11 October 2014), Kris PEETERS, Didier REYNDERS (since 30 December 2008)
cabinet: Council of Ministers formally appointed by the monarch
elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary and constitutional; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or majority coalition usually appointed prime minister by the monarch and approved by Parliament
Legislative branchdescription: bicameral Parliament or Parlement consists of the Senate or Senat (348 seats - 328 for metropolitan France and overseas departments and regions of Guadeloupe, Martinque, French Guiana, Reunion, and Mayotte, 2 for New Caledonia, 2 for French Polynesia, 1 for Saint-Pierre and Miquelon, 1 for Saint-Barthelemy, 1 for Saint-Martin, 1 for Wallis and Futuna, and 12 for French nationals abroad; members indirectly elected by departmental electoral colleges using absolute majority vote in 2 rounds if needed for departments with 1-3 members and proportional representation vote in departments with 4 or more members; members serve 6-year terms with one-half of the membership renewed every 3 years) and the National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale (577 seats - 556 for metropolitan France, 10 for overseas departments, and 11 for citizens abroad; members directly elected by absolute majority vote in 2 rounds if needed to serve 5-year terms)
elections: Senate - last held on 24 September 2017 (next to be held on 24 September 2020); National Assembly - last held on 11 and 18 June 2017 (next to be held in June 2022)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - LR 146, SOC 78, UC 49, REM 21, CRC 21, other 32
National Assembly - percent of vote by party first round - EM 28.2%, LR 15.8%. FN 13.2%, FI 11.0%, PS 7.4%, other 24.4%; percent of vote by party second round - EM 43.1%, LR 22.2%, FN 8.8%, MoDEM 6.1%, PS 5.7%. FI 4.9%, other 9.2%; seats by party - EM 308, LR 112, MoDEM 42, PS 29, UDI 18, FI 17, PCF 10, FN 8, other 33
description: bicameral Parliament consists of the Senate or Senaat (in Dutch), Senat (in French) (60 seats; 50 members indirectly elected by the community and regional parliaments based on their election results, and 10 elected by the 50 other senators; members serve 5-year terms) and the Chamber of Representatives or Kamer van Volksvertegenwoordigers (in Dutch), Chambre des Representants (in French) (150 seats; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote; members serve 5-year terms)
note: the 1993 constitutional revision that further devolved Belgium into a federal state created 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; changes above occurred since the sixth state reform
elections: Chamber of Representatives - last held on 25 May 2014 (next to be held in May 2019); note - elections will coincide with the EU's elections
election results: Chamber of Representatives - percent of vote by party - N-VA 20.3%, PS 11.7%, CD&V 11.6%, Open VLD 9.8%, MR 9.6%, SP.A 8.8%, Groen! 5.3%, CDH 5.0% Workers' Party 3.7%, VB 3.7%, Ecolo 3.3%, Defi 1.8%, PP 1.5%, other 3.9%; seats by party - N-VA 33, PS 23, MR 20, CD&V 18, Open VLD 14, SP.A 13, Groen! 6, CDH 9, Workers' Party 2, VB 3, Ecolo 6, Defi 2, PP 1
Judicial branchhighest court(s): Court of Cassation or Cour de Cassation (consists of the court president, 6 divisional presiding judges, 120 trial judges, and 70 deputy judges organized into 6 divisions - 3 civil, 1 commercial, 1 labor, and 1 criminal); Constitutional Council (consists of 9 members)
judge selection and term of office: Court of Cassation judges appointed by the president of the republic from nominations from the High Council of the Judiciary, presided over by the Court of Cassation and 15 appointed members; judges appointed for life; Constitutional Council members - 3 appointed by the president of the republic and 3 each by the National Assembly and Senate presidents; members serve 9-year, non-renewable terms with one-third of the membership renewed every 3 years
subordinate courts: appellate courts or Cour d'Appel; regional courts or Tribunal de Grande Instance; first instance courts or Tribunal d'instance; administrative courts
highest court(s): Constitutional Court or Grondwettelijk Hof in Dutch and Cour constitutionelle in French (consists of 12 judges - 6 Dutch-speaking and 6 French-speaking); Supreme Court of Justice or Hof van Cassatie in Dutch and Cour de Cassation in French (court organized into 3 chambers: civil and commercial; criminal; social, fiscal, and armed forces; each chamber includes a Dutch division and a French division, each with a chairperson and 5-6 judges)
judge selection and term of office: Constitutional Court judges appointed by the monarch from candidates submitted by Parliament; judges appointed for life with mandatory retirement at age 70; Supreme Court judges appointed by the monarch from candidates submitted by the High Council of Justice, a 44-member independent body of judicial and non-judicial members; judges appointed for life
subordinate courts: Courts of Appeal; regional courts; specialized courts for administrative, commercial, labor, immigration, and audit issues; magistrate's courts; justices of the peace
Political parties and leadersDemocratic Movement or MoDEM [Francois BAYROU]
Europe Ecology - The Greens or EELV [David CORMAND]
French Communist Party or PCF [Pierre LAURENT]
La France Insoumise or FI [Jean-Luc MELENCHON]
Left Front Coalition or FDG [Jean-Luc MELENCHON]
Left Party or PG [linked with the movement La France Insoumise or FI [Jean-Luc MELENCHON]]
Left Radical Party or PRG [Sylvia PINEL] (formerly Radical Socialist Party or PRS and the Left Radical Movement or MRG)
Movement for France or MPF [Philippe DE VILLIERS]
National Front or FN [Marine LE PEN]
New Anticapitalist Party or NPA [collective leadership; main spokesperson Christine POUPIN; presidential candIdate Philippe POUTOU]
Rally for France or RPF [Igor KUREK]
Republican and Citizen Movement or MRC [Jean-Luc LAURENT]
Socialist Party or PS [Rachid TEMAL, interim leader]
Stand Up France (Debout La France) [Nicolas DUPONT-AIGNAN]
The Centrists [Herve MORIN] (formerly new Center of NC)
The Republic on the Move (La Republique en Marche) or REM [Christophe CASTANER]
The Republicans or LR (formerly Union for a Popular Movement or UMP) [Laurent WAUQUIEZ]
Union des Democrates et Independants or UDI [Jean-Christohe LAGARDE] and Democratic Movement or MoDem [Francois BAYROU] (previously Union for French Democracy or UDF); together known as UDI-Modem; Radical Party [Laurent HENART] is a member of UDI
United Republic or RS [Dominique DE VILLEPIN]
Worker's Struggle (Lutte Ouvriere) or LO; also known as Communist Union; [collective leadership; spokespersons Nathalie ARTHAUD and Arlette LAGUILLER]
Flemish parties:
Christian Democratic and Flemish or CD&V [Wouter BEKE]
Flemish Liberals and Democrats or Open VLD [Gwendolyn RUTTEN]
Groen [Meyrem ALMACI] (formerly AGALEV, Flemish Greens)
New Flemish Alliance or N-VA [Bart DE WEVER]
Social Progressive Alternative or SP.A [John CROMBEZ and Stephanie VAN HOUTVEN]
Vlaams Belang (Flemish Interest) or VB [Tom VAN GRIEKEN]
Francophone parties:
Ecolo (Francophone Greens) [Patrick DUPRIEZ and Zakia KHATTABI]
Francophone Federalist Democrats or Defi [Olivier MAINGAIN]
Humanist and Democratic Center or CDH [Benoit LUTGEN]
People's Party or PP [Mischael MODRIKAMEN]
Reform Movement or MR [Olivier CHASTEL]
Socialist Party or PS [Elio DI RUPO]
Workers' Party or PTB [Peter MERTENS]
other minor parties
Political pressure groups and leadersFrench Confederation of Management - General Confederation of Executives) or CFE-CGC (Confederation francaise de l'encadrement - Confederation generale des cadres) [Francois HOMMERIL] (independent white-collar union with 140,000 members)
French Democratic Confederation of Labor or CFDT (Confederation Francaise Democratique du Travail) [Laurent BERGER] (left-leaning labor union with approximately 875,000 members)
French Confederation of Christian Workers or CFTC (Confederation francaise des travailleurs chretiens) [Philippe LOUIS] (independent labor union founded by Catholic workers that claims 142,000 members)
General Confederation of Labor or CGT (Confederation generale du travail) [Philippe MARTINEZ] (historically communist labor union with approximately 710,000 members)
General Confederation of Labor - Worker's Force) or FO (Confederation generale du travail - Force ouvriere) [Jean-Claude MAILLY] (independent labor union with an estimated 300,000 members)
Mouvement des entreprises de France or MEDEF [Pierre GATTAZ] (employers' union with claimed 750,000 companies as members)

French Guiana:
conservationists; gold mining pressure groups; hunting pressure groups

Guadeloupe:
Christian Movement for the Liberation of Guadeloupe or KLPG
General Federation of Guadeloupe Workers or CGT-G
General Union of Guadeloupe Workers or UGTG
Movement for an Independent Guadeloupe or MPGI
The Socialist Renewal Movement

Martinique:
Caribbean Revolutionary Alliance or ARC
Central Union for Martinique Workers or CSTM
Frantz Fanon Circle
League of Workers and Peasants
Proletarian Action Group or GAP

Reunion:
NA
Belgian General Federation of Labor or ABVV or FGTB [Rudy DE LEEUW, Marc GOBLET]
Confederation of Christian Trade Unions or ACV or CSC [Marc LEEMANS, Marie-Helene SKA]
Federation of Enterprises in Belgium or VBO or FEB [Pieter TIMMERMANS, Bernard GILLIOT]
other: numerous other associations representing bankers, manufacturers, middle-class artisans, and the legal and medical professions; trade unions; various organizations representing the cultural interests of Flanders and Wallonia; various peace groups such as BEPax and groups representing immigrants
International organization participationADB (nonregional member), AfDB (nonregional member), Arctic Council (observer), Australia Group, BDEAC, BIS, BSEC (observer), CBSS (observer), CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, ECB, EIB, EITI (implementing country), EMU, ESA, EU, FAO, FATF, FZ, G-5, G-7, G-8, G-10, G-20, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IGAD (partners), IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, InOC, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, MINURSO, MINUSMA, MINUSTAH, MONUSCO, NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OIF, OPCW, OSCE, Pacific Alliance (observer), Paris Club, PCA, PIF (partner), Schengen Convention, SELEC (observer), SPC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, Union Latina, UNMIL, UNOCI, UNRWA, UNSC (permanent), UNTSO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
ADB (nonregional members), AfDB (nonregional members), Australia Group, Benelux, BIS, CD, CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, ECB, EIB, EITI (implementing country), EMU, ESA, EU, FAO, FATF, G-9, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IGAD (partners), IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, MONUSCO, NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OIF, OPCW, OSCE, Pacific Alliance (observer), Paris Club, PCA, Schengen Convention, SELEC (observer), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNRWA, UNTSO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
Diplomatic representation in the USchief of mission: Ambassador Gerard Roger ARAUD (since 18 September 2014)
chancery: 4101 Reservoir Road NW, Washington, DC 20007
telephone: [1] (202) 944-6000
FAX: [1] (202) 944-6166
consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, San Francisco, Washington DC
chief of mission: Ambassador Dirk Jozef M. WOUTERS (since 16 September 2016)
chancery: 3330 Garfield Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 333-6900
FAX: [1] (202) 333-3079
consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Los Angeles, New York
Diplomatic representation from the USchief of mission: Ambassador Jamie D. McCOURT (since 18 December 2017); note - also accredited to Monaco
embassy: 2 Avenue Gabriel, 75382 Paris Cedex 08
mailing address: PSC 116, APO AE 09777
telephone: [33] (1) 43-12-22-22
FAX: [33] (1) 42 66 97 83
consulate(s) general: Marseille, Strasbourg
consulate(s): Bordeaux, Lyon, Rennes, Toulouse
chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Matthew LUSSENHOP (since 21 January 2017)
embassy: 27 Boulevard du Regent [Regentlaan], B-1000 Brussels
mailing address: PSC 82, Box 002, APO AE 09710
telephone: [32] (2) 811-4000
FAX: [32] (2) 811-4500
Flag description"three equal vertical bands of blue (hoist side), white, and red; known as the ""Le drapeau tricolore"" (French Tricolor), the origin of the flag dates to 1790 and the French Revolution when the ""ancient French color"" of white was combined with the blue and red colors of the Parisian militia; the official flag for all French dependent areas
note: the design and/or colors are similar to a number of other flags, including those of Belgium, Chad, Cote d'Ivoire, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, and Netherlands
"
three equal vertical bands of black (hoist side), yellow, and red; the vertical design was based on the flag of France; the colors are those of the arms of the duchy of Brabant (yellow lion with red claws and tongue on a black field)
National anthem"name: ""La Marseillaise"" (The Song of Marseille)
lyrics/music: Claude-Joseph ROUGET de Lisle
note: adopted 1795, restored 1870; originally known as ""Chant de Guerre pour l'Armee du Rhin"" (War Song for the Army of the Rhine), the National Guard of Marseille made the song famous by singing it while marching into Paris in 1792 during the French Revolutionary Wars
"
"name: ""La Brabanconne"" (The Song of Brabant)
lyrics/music: Louis-Alexandre DECHET[French] Victor CEULEMANS [Dutch]/Francois VAN CAMPENHOUT
note: adopted 1830; according to legend, Louis-Alexandre DECHET, an actor at the theater in which the revolution against the Netherlands began, wrote the lyrics with a group of young people in a Brussels cafe
"
International law organization participationhas not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
National symbol(s)Gallic rooster, fleur-de-lis, Marianne (female personification); national colors: blue, white, red
golden rampant lion; national colors: red, black, yellow
Citizenshipcitizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of France
dual citizenship recognized: yes
residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years
citizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Belgium
dual citizenship recognized: yes
residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years

Economy

FranceBelgium
Economy - overviewThe French economy is diversified across all sectors. The government has partially or fully privatized many large companies, including Air France, France Telecom, Renault, and Thales. However, the government maintains a strong presence in some sectors, particularly power, public transport, and defense industries. Despite terrorist attacks, labor strikes, and bad weather, France is still the most visited country in the world with 83 million foreign tourists in 2016, including 530,000 who came for the 2016 Euro Cup. France's leaders remain committed to a capitalism in which they maintain social equity by means of laws, tax policies, and social spending that mitigate economic inequality.

France's real GDP grew by 1.6% in 2017, up from 1.2% the year before. The unemployment rate (including overseas territories) increased from 7.8% in 2008 to 10.2% in 2015, before falling to 9.5% in 2017. Youth unemployment in metropolitan France decreased from 24.6% in the fourth quarter of 2014 to 24% in the fourth quarter of 2016.

Lower-than-expected growth and high spending have strained France's public finances. Despite measures to restore public finances since President Francois HOLLANDE took office in 2012, the budget deficit rose from 3.3% of GDP in 2008 to 7.5% of GDP in 2009 before improving to 3.1% of GDP in 2017. Meanwhile, France's public debt rose from 89.5% of GDP in 2012 to 96.1% in 2017.

President HOLLANDE’s policies aimed to enhance French industry’s competitiveness and to lower high jobless figures. The Competitiveness and Employment Tax Credit of 2012, the Responsibility and Solidarity Pact of 2014, the Investment Stimulus Plan, and the Emergency Jobs Plan represent more than $42.6 billion in support for businesses in 2017 by lowering French labor costs, but so far the results of these policies have been marginal on France’s competitiveness and job creation. In an effort to bolster social justice, the 2017 budget bill contained provisions to reduce income taxes for households and for small and medium sized enterprises.

During his mandate, President HOLLANDE oversaw two highly unpopular economic reforms that led to widespread protests. The “Macron Law” of 2015, enacted to boost economic growth, authorized businesses to open some Sundays of each month and allowed flexibility to negotiate pay and working hours. The “El Khomri law,” imposed by decree in 2016, aimed to make it easier for businesses to employ people and gave employers more leeway to negotiate hours, wages, and time off.
Belgium’s central geographic location and highly developed transport network have helped develop a well-diversified economy, with a broad mix of transport, services, manufacturing, and high tech. Industry is concentrated mainly in the more heavily-populated region of Flanders in the north. Belgium is 100% reliant on foreign sources of fossil fuels, and the planned closure of its seven nuclear plants by 2025 should increase its dependence on foreign energy. Its role as a regional logistical hub makes its economy vulnerable to shifts in foreign demand, particularly with EU trading partners. Roughly three-quarters of Belgium's trade is with other EU countries.

Belgium’s GDP grew by 1.6% in 2017, unemployment stood at 7.5%, and the budget deficit was 2.1% of GDP. The economy largely recovered from the March 2016 terrorist attacks, which mainly impacted the Brussels region tourist and hospitality industry. Prime Minister Charles MICHEL's center-right government has pledged to further reduce the deficit in response to EU pressure to decrease Belgium's high public debt of about 104% of GDP, but such efforts could also dampen economic growth. In addition to restrained public spending, low wage growth and higher inflation promise to curtail a more robust recovery in private consumption.

The government has pledged to pursue a reform program to improve Belgium’s competitiveness, including changes to tax policy, labor market rules, and welfare benefits. These changes have generally made Belgian wages more competitive regionally, but risk worsening tensions with trade unions and triggering extended strikes.
GDP (purchasing power parity)$2.826 trillion (2017 est.)
$2.783 trillion (2016 est.)
$2.75 trillion (2015 est.)
note: data are in 2017 dollars
$526.4 billion (2017 est.)
$517.9 billion (2016 est.)
$511.8 billion (2015 est.)
note: data are in 2017 dollars
GDP - real growth rate1.6% (2017 est.)
1.2% (2016 est.)
1.1% (2015 est.)
1.6% (2017 est.)
1.2% (2016 est.)
1.5% (2015 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$43,600 (2017 est.)
$43,100 (2016 est.)
$42,700 (2015 est.)
note: data are in 2017 dollars
$46,300 (2017 est.)
$45,800 (2016 est.)
$45,500 (2015 est.)
note: data are in 2017 dollars
GDP - composition by sectoragriculture: 1.6%
industry: 19.4%
services: 78.9% (2017 est.)
agriculture: 0.7%
industry: 21.8%
services: 77.5% (2017 est.)
Population below poverty line14% (2013 est.)
15.1% (2013 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: 3.6%
highest 10%: 25.4% (2013)
lowest 10%: 3.4%
highest 10%: 28.4% (2006)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)1.2% (2017 est.)
0.3% (2016 est.)
2.2% (2017 est.)
1.8% (2016 est.)
Labor force30.68 million (2017 est.)
5.324 million (2017 est.)
Labor force - by occupationagriculture: 2.4%
industry: 18.3%
services: 79.3% (2015 est.)
agriculture: 1.3%
industry: 18.6%
services: 80.1% (2013 est.)
Unemployment rate9.5% (2017 est.)
10% (2016 est.)
note: includes overseas territories
7.5% (2017 est.)
7.9% (2016 est.)
Distribution of family income - Gini index29.2 (2015)
30.5 (2012)
25.9 (2013 est.)
28.7 (1996)
Budgetrevenues: $1.334 trillion
expenditures: $1.412 trillion (2017 est.)
revenues: $249.7 billion
expenditures: $260 billion (2017 est.)
Industriesmachinery, chemicals, automobiles, metallurgy, aircraft, electronics; textiles, food processing; tourism
engineering and metal products, motor vehicle assembly, transportation equipment, scientific instruments, processed food and beverages, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, base metals, textiles, glass, petroleum
Industrial production growth rate1.1% (2017 est.)
1.5% (2017 est.)
Agriculture - productswheat, cereals, sugar beets, potatoes, wine grapes; beef, dairy products; fish
sugar beets, fresh vegetables, fruits, grain, tobacco; beef, veal, pork, milk
Exports$541.3 billion (2017 est.)
$507 billion (2016 est.)
$309.1 billion (2017 est.)
$277.7 billion (2016 est.)
Exports - commoditiesmachinery and transportation equipment, aircraft, plastics, chemicals, pharmaceutical products, iron and steel, beverages
chemicals, machinery and equipment, finished diamonds, metals and metal products, foodstuffs
Exports - partnersGermany 16%, Spain 7.6%, US 7.3%, Italy 7.2%, UK 7%, Belgium 6.8% (2016)
Germany 16.7%, France 15.4%, Netherlands 11.2%, UK 8.9%, US 5.8%, Italy 5.2% (2016)
Imports$576.3 billion (2017 est.)
$536.7 billion (2016 est.)
$306.1 billion (2017 est.)
$271.2 billion (2016 est.)
Imports - commoditiesmachinery and equipment, vehicles, crude oil, aircraft, plastics, chemicals
raw materials, machinery and equipment, chemicals, raw diamonds, pharmaceuticals, foodstuffs, transportation equipment, oil products
Imports - partnersGermany 19.3%, Belgium 10.6%, Netherlands 7.9%, Italy 7.8%, Spain 7%, US 5.8%, China 5.1%, UK 4.2% (2016)
Netherlands 16.1%, Germany 13.6%, France 9.5%, US 8.1%, UK 4.8%, Ireland 4.5%, China 4.3% (2016)
Debt - external$5.36 trillion (31 March 2016 est.)
$5.25 trillion (31 March 2015 est.)
$1.281 trillion (31 March 2016 est.)
$1.214 trillion (31 March 2015 est.)
Exchange rateseuros (EUR) per US dollar -
0.906 (2017 est.)
0.9214 (2016 est.)
0.9214 (2015 est.)
0.885 (2014 est.)
0.7634 (2013 est.)
euros (EUR) per US dollar -
0.906 (2017 est.)
0.9214 (2016 est.)
0.9214 (2015 est.)
0.885 (2014 est.)
0.7634 (2013 est.)
Fiscal yearcalendar year
calendar year
Public debt96.1% of GDP (2017 est.)
96.4% of GDP (2016 est.)
note: data cover general government debt, and includes debt instruments issued (or owned) by government entities other than the treasury; the data include treasury debt held by foreign entities; the data include debt issued by subnational entities, as well as intra-governmental debt; intra-governmental debt consists of treasury borrowings from surpluses in the social funds, such as for retirement, medical care, and unemployment; debt instruments for the social funds are not sold at public auctions
104.3% of GDP (2017 est.)
106% of GDP (2016 est.)
note: data cover general government debt, and includes debt instruments issued (or owned) by government entities other than the treasury; the data include treasury debt held by foreign entities; the data include debt issued by subnational entities, as well as intra-governmental debt; intra-governmental debt consists of treasury borrowings from surpluses in the social funds, such as for retirement, medical care, and unemployment; debt instruments for the social funds are not sold at public auctions; general government debt is defined by the Maastricht definition and calculated by the National Bank of Belgium as consolidated gross debt; the debt is defined in European Regulation EC479/2009 concerning the implementation of the protocol on the excessive deficit procedure annexed to the Treaty on European Union (Treaty of Maastricht) of 7 February 1992; the sub-sectors of consolidated gross debt are: federal government, communities and regions, local government, and social security funds
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$146.8 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$138.2 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$23.57 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$24.1 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Current Account Balance-$28.92 billion (2017 est.)
-$24.66 billion (2016 est.)
-$1.47 billion (2017 est.)
-$1.849 billion (2016 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate)$2.575 trillion (2016 est.)
$491.7 billion (2016 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home$842.5 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$807.4 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$1.093 trillion (31 December 2017 est.)
$1.054 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad$1.452 trillion (31 December 2017 est.)
$1.379 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
$1.035 trillion (31 December 2017 est.)
$1.016 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares$1.591 trillion (31 March 2017 est.)
$2.088 trillion (31 December 2015 est.)
$2.086 trillion (31 December 2014 est.)
$414.6 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$378.5 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$374.3 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
Central bank discount rate0% (31 December 2016)
0.05% (31 December 2015)
note: this is the European Central Bank's rate on the marginal lending facility, which offers overnight credit to banks in the euro area
0.25% (31 December 2016)
0.3% (31 December 2010)
note: this is the European Central Bank's rate on the marginal lending facility, which offers overnight credit to banks in the euro area
Commercial bank prime lending rate1.4% (31 December 2017 est.)
1.6% (31 December 2016 est.)
2% (31 December 2017 est.)
2.01% (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of domestic credit$4.225 trillion (31 December 2017 est.)
$3.646 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
$783.2 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$684.8 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of narrow money$1.372 trillion (31 December 2017 est.)
$1.139 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
note: see entry for the European Union for money supply for the entire euro area; the European Central Bank (ECB) controls monetary policy for the 18 members of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU); individual members of the EMU do not control the quantity of money circulating within their own borders
$238 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$198 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
note: see entry for the European Union for money supply for the entire euro area; the European Central Bank (ECB) controls monetary policy for the 18 members of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU); individual members of the EMU do not control the quantity of money circulating within their own borders
Stock of broad money$2.338 trillion (31 December 2017 est.)
$1.982 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
$601.3 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$525.8 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Taxes and other revenues51.8% of GDP (2017 est.)
50.8% of GDP (2017 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-3.1% of GDP (2017 est.)
-2.1% of GDP (2017 est.)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24total: 24.6%
male: 25%
female: 24% (2016 est.)
total: 22.1%
male: 23.8%
female: 20% (2015 est.)
GDP - composition, by end usehousehold consumption: 54.8%
government consumption: 23.5%
investment in fixed capital: 22%
investment in inventories: 1.3%
exports of goods and services: 30.3%
imports of goods and services: -32% (2017 est.)
household consumption: 50.8%
government consumption: 23.3%
investment in fixed capital: 23%
investment in inventories: 0.5%
exports of goods and services: 87.7%
imports of goods and services: -85.3% (2017 est.)
Gross national saving22.1% of GDP (2017 est.)
22% of GDP (2016 est.)
22.3% of GDP (2015 est.)
23.2% of GDP (2017 est.)
22.3% of GDP (2016 est.)
23.6% of GDP (2015 est.)

Energy

FranceBelgium
Electricity - production536.1 billion kWh (2015 est.)
64.78 billion kWh (2015 est.)
Electricity - consumption436.1 billion kWh (2015 est.)
81.96 billion kWh (2015 est.)
Electricity - exports61.41 billion kWh (2016 est.)
8.465 billion kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - imports20.79 billion kWh (2016 est.)
14.65 billion kWh (2016 est.)
Oil - production16,420 bbl/day (2016 est.)
0 bbl/day (2016 est.)
Oil - imports1.096 million bbl/day (2016 est.)
639,500 bbl/day (2016 est.)
Oil - exports0 bbl/day (2016 est.)
0 bbl/day (2016 est.)
Oil - proved reserves72.35 million bbl (1 January 2017 es)
0 bbl (1 January 2017 es)
Natural gas - proved reserves8.608 billion cu m (1 January 2017 es)
0 cu m (1 January 2014 es)
Natural gas - production28 million cu m (2015 est.)
0 cu m (2014 est.)
Natural gas - consumption42.51 billion cu m (2015 est.)
23.01 billion cu m (2015 est.)
Natural gas - exports5.419 billion cu m (2015 est.)
1.694 billion cu m (2015 est.)
Natural gas - imports44.38 billion cu m (2015 est.)
18.81 billion cu m (2015 est.)
Electricity - installed generating capacity129.3 million kW (2015 est.)
21.15 million kW (2015 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels16.1% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
34.8% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants14% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
0.5% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
Electricity - from nuclear fuels48.8% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
28% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
Electricity - from other renewable sources16.9% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
32.1% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
Refined petroleum products - production1.27 million bbl/day (2016 est.)
701,700 bbl/day (2016 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption1.661 million bbl/day (2016 est.)
662,400 bbl/day (2016 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports433,400 bbl/day (2016 est.)
597,000 bbl/day (2016 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports854,200 bbl/day (2016 est.)
585,700 bbl/day (2016 est.)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy385.6 million Mt (2013 est.)
93.62 million Mt (2013 est.)
Electricity accesselectrification - total population: 100% (2016)
electrification - total population: 100% (2016)

Telecommunications

FranceBelgium
Telephones - main lines in usetotal subscriptions: 39.006 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 58 (July 2016 est.)
total subscriptions: 4,371,055
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 38 (July 2016 est.)
Telephones - mobile cellulartotal: 67.571 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 101 (July 2016 est.)
total: 12,457,820
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 109 (July 2016 est.)
Telephone systemgeneral assessment: highly developed
domestic: extensive cable and microwave radio relay; extensive use of fiber-optic cable; domestic satellite system
international: country code - 33; numerous submarine cables provide links throughout Europe, Asia, Australia, the Middle East, and US; satellite earth stations - more than 3 (2 Intelsat (with total of 5 antennas - 2 for Indian Ocean and 3 for Atlantic Ocean), NA Eutelsat, 1 Inmarsat - Atlantic Ocean region); HF radiotelephone communications with more than 20 countries
overseas departments: country codes: French Guiana - 594; Guadeloupe - 590; Martinique - 596; Mayotte - 262; Reunion - 262 (2015)
general assessment: highly developed, technologically advanced, and completely automated domestic and international telephone and telegraph facilities
domestic: nationwide mobile-cellular telephone system; extensive cable network; limited microwave radio relay network
international: country code - 32; landing point for a number of submarine cables that provide links to Europe, the Middle East, and Asia; satellite earth stations - 7 (Intelsat - 3) (2015)
Internet country codemetropolitan France - .fr; French Guiana - .gf; Guadeloupe - .gp; Martinique - .mq; Mayotte - .yt; Reunion - .re
.be
Internet userstotal: 57,226,585
percent of population: 85.6% (July 2016 est.)
total: 9,870,734
percent of population: 86.5% (July 2016 est.)
Broadcast mediaa mix of both publicly operated and privately owned TV stations; state-owned France television stations operate 4 networks, one of which is a network of regional stations, and has part-interest in several thematic cable/satellite channels and international channels; a large number of privately owned regional and local TV stations; multi-channel satellite and cable services provide a large number of channels; public broadcaster Radio France operates 7 national networks, a series of regional networks, and operates services for overseas territories and foreign audiences; Radio France Internationale, under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is a leading international broadcaster; a large number of commercial FM stations, with many of them consolidating into commercial networks (2008)
a segmented market with the three major communities (Flemish, French, and German-speaking) each having responsibility for their own broadcast media; multiple TV channels exist for each community; additionally, in excess of 90% of households are connected to cable and can access broadcasts of TV stations from neighboring countries; each community has a public radio network coexisting with private broadcasters (2009)

Transportation

FranceBelgium
Railwaystotal: 29,640 km
standard gauge: 29,473 km 1.435-m gauge (15,561 km electrified)
narrow gauge: 167 km 1.000-m gauge (63 km electrified) (2014)
total: 3,592 km
standard gauge: 3,592 km 1.435-m gauge (2,960 km electrified) (2014)
Roadwaystotal: 1,028,446 km (metropolitan France)
paved: 1,028,446 km (includes 11,416 km of expressways)
note: not included are 5,100 km of roadways in overseas departments (2010)
total: 154,012 km
paved: 120,514 km (includes 1,756 km of expressways)
unpaved: 33,498 km (2010)
Waterwaysmetropolitan France: 8,501 km (1,621 km navigable by craft up to 3,000 metric tons) (2010)
2,043 km (1,528 km in regular commercial use) (2012)
Pipelinesgas 15,322 km; oil 2,939 km; refined products 5,084 km (2013)
gas 3,139 km; oil 154 km; refined products 535 km (2013)
Ports and terminalsmajor seaport(s): Brest, Calais, Dunkerque, Le Havre, Marseille, Nantes,
river port(s): Paris, Rouen (Seine); Strasbourg (Rhine); Bordeaux (Garronne)
container port(s): Le Havre (2,215,262) (2011)
cruise/ferry port(s): Calais, Cherbourg, Le Havre
LNG terminal(s) (import): Fos Cavaou, Fos Tonkin, Montoir de Bretagne
major seaport(s): Oostende, Zeebrugge
river port(s): Antwerp, Gent (Schelde River); Brussels (Senne River); Liege (Meuse River)
container port(s) (TEUs): Antwerp (9,654,000), Zeebrugge (1,569,000) (2015)
LNG terminal(s) (import): Zeebrugge
Merchant marinetotal: 555
by type: container ship 24, general cargo 72, oil tanker 28, other 431
note: includes Monaco (2017)
total: 185
by type: bulk carrier 15, general cargo 15, oil tanker 20, other 135 (2017)
Airports464 (2013)
41 (2013)
Airports - with paved runwaystotal: 294
over 3,047 m: 14
2,438 to 3,047 m: 25
1,524 to 2,437 m: 97
914 to 1,523 m: 83
under 914 m: 75 (2017)
total: 26
over 3,047 m: 6
2,438 to 3,047 m: 9
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 8 (2017)
Airports - with unpaved runwaystotal: 170
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 64
under 914 m: 105 (2013)
total: 15
under 914 m: 15 (2013)
Heliports1 (2013)
1 (2013)
National air transport systemnumber of registered air carriers: 30
inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 485
annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 65,039,503
annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 4,098.31 million mt-km (2015)
number of registered air carriers: 7
inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 117
annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 11,193,023
annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 1,464,316,900 mt-km (2015)
Civil aircraft registration country code prefixF (2016)
OO (2016)

Military

FranceBelgium
Military branchesArmy (Armee de Terre; includes Marines, Foreign Legion, Army Light Aviation), Navy (Marine Nationale), Air Force (Armee de l'Air (AdlA); includes Air Defense) (2011)
Belgian Armed Forces: Land Operations Command, Naval Operations Command, Air Operations Command (2012)
Military service age and obligation18-25 years of age for male and female voluntary military service; no conscription; 1-year service obligation; women serve in noncombat posts (2013)
18 years of age for male and female voluntary military service; conscription abolished in 1994 (2012)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP2.26% of GDP (2016)
2.27% of GDP (2015)
2.23% of GDP (2014)
2.22% of GDP (2013)
2.24% of GDP (2012)
0.87% of GDP (2016)
0.93% of GDP (2015)
0.97% of GDP (2014)
1.01% of GDP (2013)
1.04% of GDP (2012)

Transnational Issues

FranceBelgium
Disputes - internationalMadagascar claims the French territories of Bassas da India, Europa Island, Glorioso Islands, and Juan de Nova Island; Comoros claims Mayotte; Mauritius claims Tromelin Island; territorial dispute between Suriname and the French overseas department of French Guiana; France asserts a territorial claim in Antarctica (Adelie Land); France and Vanuatu claim Matthew and Hunter Islands, east of New Caledonia
none
Illicit drugsmetropolitan France: transshipment point for South American cocaine, Southwest Asian heroin, and European synthetics
French Guiana: small amount of marijuana grown for local consumption; minor transshipment point to Europe
Martinique: transshipment point for cocaine and marijuana bound for the US and Europe
growing producer of synthetic drugs and cannabis; 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; significant domestic consumption of ecstasy
Refugees and internally displaced personsrefugees (country of origin): 24,326 (Sri Lanka); 15,232 (Russia); 15,037 (Democratic Republic of the Congo); 13,154 (Serbia and Kosovo); 11,566 (Cambodia); 10,615 (Turkey); 8,991 (Syria); 8,008 (Vietnam); 7,685 (Afghanistan); 7,049 (Sudan); 6,841 (Laos); 6,823 (Guinea); 6,043 (Iraq); 5,183 (Mauritania) (2016)
stateless persons: 1,370 (2016)
refugees (country of origin): 9,080 (Syria) (2016)
stateless persons: 2,630 (2016)

Source: CIA Factbook