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Germany vs. Belgium

Introduction

GermanyBelgium
BackgroundAs Europe's largest economy and second most populous nation (after Russia), Germany is a key member of the continent's economic, political, and defense organizations. European power struggles immersed Germany in two devastating World Wars in the first half of the 20th century and left the country occupied by the victorious Allied powers of the US, UK, France, and the Soviet Union in 1945. With the advent of the Cold War, two German states were formed in 1949: the western Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) and the eastern German Democratic Republic (GDR). The democratic FRG embedded itself in key western economic and security organizations, the EC, which became the EU, and NATO, while the communist GDR was on the front line of the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact. The decline of the USSR and the end of the Cold War allowed for German reunification in 1990. Since then, Germany has expended considerable funds to bring eastern productivity and wages up to western standards. In January 1999, Germany and 10 other EU countries introduced a common European exchange currency, the euro.
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

GermanyBelgium
LocationCentral Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea and the North Sea, between the Netherlands and Poland, south of Denmark
Western Europe, bordering the North Sea, between France and the Netherlands
Geographic coordinates51 00 N, 9 00 E
50 50 N, 4 00 E
Map referencesEurope
Europe
Areatotal: 357,022 sq km
land: 348,672 sq km
water: 8,350 sq km
total: 30,528 sq km
land: 30,278 sq km
water: 250 sq km
Area - comparativethree times the size of Pennsylvania; slightly smaller than Montana
about the size of Maryland
Land boundariestotal: 3,714 km
border countries (9): Austria 801 km, Belgium 133 km, Czech Republic 704 km, Denmark 140 km, France 418 km, Luxembourg 128 km, Netherlands 575 km, Poland 467 km, Switzerland 348 km
total: 1,297 km
border countries (4): France 556 km, Germany 133 km, Luxembourg 130 km, Netherlands 478 km
Coastline2,389 km
66.5 km
Maritime claimsterritorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
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
Climatetemperate and marine; cool, cloudy, wet winters and summers; occasional warm mountain (foehn) wind
temperate; mild winters, cool summers; rainy, humid, cloudy
Terrainlowlands in north, uplands in center, Bavarian Alps in south
flat coastal plains in northwest, central rolling hills, rugged mountains of Ardennes Forest in southeast
Elevation extremesmean elevation: 263 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Neuendorf bei Wilster -3.5 m
highest point: Zugspitze 2,963 m
mean elevation: 181 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: North Sea 0 m
highest point: Botrange 694 m
Natural resourcescoal, lignite, natural gas, iron ore, copper, nickel, uranium, potash, salt, construction materials, timber, arable land
construction materials, silica sand, carbonates, arable land
Land useagricultural land: 48%
arable land 34.1%; permanent crops 0.6%; permanent pasture 13.3%
forest: 31.8%
other: 20.2% (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 land6,500 sq km (2012)
230 sq km (2012)
Natural hazardsflooding
flooding is a threat along rivers and in areas of reclaimed coastal land, protected from the sea by concrete dikes
Environment - current issuesemissions from coal-burning utilities and industries contribute to air pollution; acid rain, resulting from sulfur dioxide emissions, is damaging forests; pollution in the Baltic Sea from raw sewage and industrial effluents from rivers in eastern Germany; hazardous waste disposal; government established a mechanism for ending the use of nuclear power by 2022; government working to meet EU commitment to identify nature preservation areas in line with the EU's Flora, Fauna, and Habitat directive
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, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, 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 - notestrategic location on North European Plain and along the entrance to the Baltic Sea; most major rivers in Germany - the Rhine, Weser, Oder, Elbe - flow northward; the Danube, which originates in the Black Forest, flows eastward
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 distributionmost populous country in Europe; a fairly even distribution throughout most of the country, with urban areas attracting larger and denser populations, particularly in the far western part of the industrial state of North Rhine-Westphalia
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

GermanyBelgium
Population80,594,017 (July 2017 est.)
11,491,346 (July 2017 est.)
Age structure0-14 years: 12.82% (male 5,304,341/female 5,028,776)
15-24 years: 10.09% (male 4,145,486/female 3,986,302)
25-54 years: 40.45% (male 16,467,975/female 16,133,964)
55-64 years: 14.58% (male 5,834,179/female 5,913,322)
65 years and over: 22.06% (male 7,822,221/female 9,957,451) (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: 47.1 years
male: 46 years
female: 48.2 years (2017 est.)
total: 41.4 years
male: 40.2 years
female: 42.7 years (2017 est.)
Population growth rate-0.16% (2017 est.)
0.7% (2017 est.)
Birth rate8.6 births/1,000 population (2017 est.)
11.3 births/1,000 population (2017 est.)
Death rate11.7 deaths/1,000 population (2017 est.)
9.7 deaths/1,000 population (2017 est.)
Net migration rate1.5 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2017 est.)
5.4 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2017 est.)
Sex ratioat birth: 1.06 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: 0.78 male(s)/female
total population: 0.97 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: 3.4 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 3.7 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 3.1 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: 80.8 years
male: 78.5 years
female: 83.3 years (2017 est.)
total population: 81.1 years
male: 78.5 years
female: 83.8 years (2017 est.)
Total fertility rate1.45 children born/woman (2017 est.)
1.78 children born/woman (2017 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rateNA
NA
Nationalitynoun: German(s)
adjective: German
noun: Belgian(s)
adjective: Belgian
Ethnic groupsGerman 91.5%, Turkish 2.4%, other 6.1% (made up largely of Polish, Italian, Romanian, Syrian, and Greek)
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/AIDSNA (2016 est.)
NA
ReligionsRoman Catholic 29%, Protestant 27%, Muslim 4.4%, Orthodox Christian 1.9%, other 1.7%, none or members of unrecorded religious groups 36% (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 - deathsNA
NA
LanguagesGerman (official)
note: Danish, Frisian, Sorbian, and Romani are official minority languages; Low German, Danish, North Frisian, Sater Frisian, Lower Sorbian, Upper Sorbian, and Romani are recognized as regional languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages
Dutch (official) 60%, French (official) 40%, German (official) less than 1%
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)total: 17 years
male: 17 years
female: 17 years (2015)
total: 20 years
male: 19 years
female: 21 years (2014)
Education expenditures4.9% of GDP (2013)
6.4% of GDP (2011)
Urbanizationurban population: 75.7% of total population (2017)
rate of urbanization: 0.12% 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: 99.3% of population
rural: 99% of population
total: 99.2% of population
unimproved:
urban: 0.7% of population
rural: 1% of population
total: 0.8% 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 - populationBERLIN (capital) 3.563 million; Hamburg 1.831 million; Munich 1.438 million; Cologne 1.037 million (2015)
BRUSSELS (capital) 2.045 million; Antwerp 994,000 (2015)
Maternal mortality rate6 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
7 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
Health expenditures11.3% of GDP (2014)
10.6% of GDP (2014)
Physicians density4.13 physicians/1,000 population (2014)
2.97 physicians/1,000 population (2014)
Hospital bed density8.2 beds/1,000 population (2011)
6.5 beds/1,000 population (2012)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate22.3% (2016)
22.1% (2016)
Mother's mean age at first birth29.4 years (2015 est.)
28.6 years (2013 est.)
Dependency ratiostotal dependency ratio: 52.1
youth dependency ratio: 19.9
elderly dependency ratio: 32.1
potential support ratio: 3.1 (2015 est.)
total dependency ratio: 54.2
youth dependency ratio: 26.2
elderly dependency ratio: 28
potential support ratio: 3.6 (2015 est.)

Government

GermanyBelgium
Country name"conventional long form: Federal Republic of Germany
conventional short form: Germany
local long form: Bundesrepublik Deutschland
local short form: Deutschland
former: German Reich
etymology: the Gauls (Celts) of Western Europe may have referred to the newly arriving Germanic tribes who settled in neighboring areas east of the Rhine during the first centuries B.C. as ""Germani,"" a term the Romans adopted as ""Germania""; the native designation ""Deutsch"" comes from the Old High German ""diutisc"" meaning ""of the people""
"
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 typefederal parliamentary republic
federal parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarchy
Capitalname: Berlin
geographic coordinates: 52 31 N, 13 24 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
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 divisions16 states (Laender, singular - Land); Baden-Wuerttemberg, Bayern (Bavaria), Berlin, Brandenburg, Bremen, Hamburg, Hessen (Hesse), Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania), Niedersachsen (Lower Saxony), Nordrhein-Westfalen (North Rhine-Westphalia), Rheinland-Pfalz (Rhineland-Palatinate), Saarland, Sachsen (Saxony), Sachsen-Anhalt (Saxony-Anhalt), Schleswig-Holstein, Thueringen (Thuringia); note - Bayern, Sachsen, and Thueringen refer to themselves as free states (Freistaaten, singular - Freistaat), while Hamburg prides itself on being a Free and Hanseatic City (Freie und Hansestadt)
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
Independence18 January 1871 (establishment of the German Empire); divided into four zones of occupation (UK, US, USSR, and France) in 1945 following World War II; Federal Republic of Germany (FRG or West Germany) proclaimed on 23 May 1949 and included the former UK, US, and French zones; German Democratic Republic (GDR or East Germany) proclaimed on 7 October 1949 and included the former USSR zone; West Germany and East Germany unified on 3 October 1990; all four powers formally relinquished rights on 15 March 1991; notable earlier dates: 10 August 843 (Eastern Francia established from the division of the Carolingian Empire); 2 February 962 (crowning of OTTO I, recognized as the first Holy Roman Emperor)
4 October 1830 (a provisional government declared independence from the Netherlands); 21 July 1831 (King LEOPOLD I ascended to the throne)
National holidayGerman Unity Day, 3 October (1990)
Belgian National Day (ascension to the throne of King LEOPOLD I), 21 July (1831)
Constitutionhistory: previous 1919 (Weimar Constitution); latest drafted 10 to 23 August 1948, approved 12 May 1949, promulgated 23 May 1949, entered into force 24 May 1949
amendments: proposed by Parliament; passage and enactment into law require two-thirds majority vote by both the Bundesrat (upper house) and the Bundestag (lower house) of Parliament; articles including those on basic human rights and freedoms cannot be amended; amended many times, last in 2012 (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 system
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; age 16 for some state and municipal elections
18 years of age; universal and compulsory
Executive branchchief of state: President Frank-Walter STEINMEIER (since 19 March 2017; inaugurated 22 March 2017)
head of government: Chancellor Angela MERKEL (since 22 November 2005)
cabinet: Cabinet or Bundesminister (Federal Ministers) recommended by the chancellor, appointed by the president
elections/appointments: president indirectly elected for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term) by a Federal Convention consisting of all members of the Federal Parliament (Bundestag) and an equivalent number of delegates indirectly elected by the state parliaments; election last held on 12 February 2017 (next to be held February 2022); chancellor appointed by the president following indirect election - by the Federal Parliament - for a 4-year term; Federal Parliament vote for chancellor last held on 17 December 2013 (next to be held following the general election, 24 September 2017)
election results: Frank-Walter STEINMEIER elected president; Federal Convention vote count - Frank-Walter STEINMEIER (SPD) 931, Christopher BUTTERWEGGE (The Left) 128, Albrecht GLASER (Alternative for Germany AfD) 42, Alexander HOLD (BVB/FW) 25, Engelbert SONNEBORN (Pirates) 10; Angela MERKEL (CDU) reelected chancellor; Federal Parliament vote - 462 for, 150 against, 49 abstentions
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 Parlament consists of the Federal Council or Bundesrat (69 seats; members appointed by each of the 16 state governments) and the Federal Diet or Bundestag (709 seats - total seats can vary each electoral term; approximately one-half of members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote and approximately one-half directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote; members serve 4-year terms)
elections: Bundestag - last held on 24 September 2017 (next to be held in 2021); most postwar German governments have been coalitions; note - there are no elections for the Bundesrat; composition is determined by the composition of the state-level governments; the composition of the Bundesrat has the potential to change any time one of the 16 states holds an election
election results: Bundestag - percent of vote by party - CDU/CSU 32.9%, SPD 20.5%, AfD 12.6%, FDP 10.8%, The Left 9.2%, Alliance '90/Greens 8.9%, other 5%; seats by party - CDU/CSU 246, SPD 153, FDP 80, The Left 69, Alliance '90/Greens 67
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): Federal Court of Justice (court consists of 127 judges including the court president, vice-presidents, presiding judges, and other judges, and organized into 25 Senates subdivided into 12 civil panels, 5 criminal panels, and 8 special panels; Federal Constitutional Court or Bundesverfassungsgericht (consists of 2 Senates each subdivided into 3 chambers, each with a chairman and 8 members)
judge selection and term of office: Federal Court of Justice judges selected by the Judges Election Committee, which consists of the Secretaries of Justice from each of the 16 federated States and 16 members appointed by the Federal Parliament; judges appointed by the president of Germany; judges serve until mandatory retirement at age 65; Federal Constitutional Court judges - one-half elected by the House of Representatives and one-half by the Senate; judges appointed for 12-year terms with mandatory retirement at age 68
subordinate courts: Federal Administrative Court; Federal Finance Court; Federal Labor Court; Federal Social Court; each of the 16 German states or Land has its own constitutional court and a hierarchy of ordinary (civil, criminal, family) and specialized (administrative, finance, labor, social) 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 leadersAlliance '90/Greens [Cem OEZDEMIR and Simone PETER]
Alternative for Germany or AfD [Alexander GAULAND and Joerg MEUTHEN]
Christian Democratic Union or CDU [Angela MERKEL]
Christian Social Union or CSU [Horst SEEHOFER]
Free Democratic Party or FDP [Christian LINDNER]
The Left or Die Linke [Katja KIPPING and Bernd RIEXINGER]
Social Democratic Party or SPD [Martin SCHULZ]
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 leadersbusiness associations and employers' organizations
trade unions; religious, immigrant, expellee, and veterans groups
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, BIS, BSEC (observer), CBSS, CD, CDB, CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, ECB, EIB, EITI (implementing country), EMU, ESA, EU, FAO, FATF, 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, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, MINURSO, MINUSMA, NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, Pacific Alliance (observer), Paris Club, PCA, Schengen Convention, SELEC (observer), SICA (observer), UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNMISS, UNRWA, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, 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 Hans Peter WITTIG (since 21 May 2014)
chancery: 4645 Reservoir Road NW, Washington, DC 20007
telephone: [1] (202) 298-4000
FAX: [1] (202) 298-4249
consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco
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 (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Kent LOGSDON (since 20 January 2017)
embassy: Pariser Platz 2
mailing address: Clayallee 170, 14191 Berlin
telephone: [49] (30) 8305-0
FAX: [49] (30) 8305-1215
consulate(s) general: Dusseldorf, Frankfurt am Main, Hamburg, Leipzig, Munich
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 descriptionthree equal horizontal bands of black (top), red, and gold; these colors have played an important role in German history and can be traced back to the medieval banner of the Holy Roman Emperor - a black eagle with red claws and beak on a gold field
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: ""Das Lied der Deutschen"" (Song of the Germans)
lyrics/music: August Heinrich HOFFMANN VON FALLERSLEBEN/Franz Joseph HAYDN
note: adopted 1922; the anthem, also known as ""Deutschlandlied"" (Song of Germany), was originally adopted for its connection to the March 1848 liberal revolution; following appropriation by the Nazis of the first verse, specifically the phrase, ""Deutschland, Deutschland ueber alles"" (Germany, Germany above all) to promote nationalism, it was banned after 1945; in 1952, its third verse was adopted by West Germany as its national anthem; in 1990, it became the national anthem for the reunited Germany
"
"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 participationaccepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
National symbol(s)eagle; national colors: black, red, yellow
golden rampant lion; national colors: red, black, yellow
Citizenshipcitizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a German citizen or a resident alien who has lived in Germany at least 8 years
dual citizenship recognized: yes, but requires prior permission from government
residency requirement for naturalization: 8 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

GermanyBelgium
Economy - overviewThe German economy - the fifth largest economy in the world in PPP terms and Europe's largest - is a leading exporter of machinery, vehicles, chemicals, and household equipment and benefits from a highly skilled labor force. Like its Western European neighbors, Germany faces significant demographic challenges to sustained long-term growth. Low fertility rates and a large increase in net immigration are increasing pressure on the country's social welfare system and necessitate structural reforms.

Reforms launched by the government of Chancellor Gerhard SCHROEDER (1998-2005), deemed necessary to address chronically high unemployment and low average growth, contributed to strong growth and falling unemployment. These advances, as well as a government subsidized, reduced working hour scheme, help explain the relatively modest increase in unemployment during the 2008-09 recession - the deepest since World War II. The German Government introduced a minimum wage in 2015 that increased to $9.79 (8.84 euros) in January 2017.

Stimulus and stabilization efforts initiated in 2008 and 2009 and tax cuts introduced in Chancellor Angela MERKEL's second term increased Germany's total budget deficit - including federal, state, and municipal - to 4.1% in 2010, but slower spending and higher tax revenues reduced the deficit to 0.8% in 2011 and in 2017 Germany reached a budget surplus of 0.7%. A constitutional amendment approved in 2009 limits the federal government to structural deficits of no more than 0.35% of GDP per annum as of 2016, though the target was already reached in 2012.

The German economy suffers from low levels of investment, and a government plan to invest 15 billion euros during 2016-18, largely in infrastructure, is intended to spur needed private investment. Following the March 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, Chancellor Angela MERKEL announced in May 2011 that eight of the country's 17 nuclear reactors would be shut down immediately and the remaining plants would close by 2022. Germany plans to replace nuclear power largely with renewable energy, which accounted for 29.5% of gross electricity consumption in 2016, up from 9% in 2000. Before the shutdown of the eight reactors, Germany relied on nuclear power for 23% of its electricity generating capacity and 46% of its base-load electricity production. Domestic consumption, bolstered by low energy prices and a weak euro, and exports are likely to drive German GDP growth again in 2018.
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)$4.15 trillion (2017 est.)
$4.066 trillion (2016 est.)
$3.992 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 rate2.1% (2017 est.)
1.9% (2016 est.)
1.5% (2015 est.)
1.6% (2017 est.)
1.2% (2016 est.)
1.5% (2015 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$50,200 (2017 est.)
$49,300 (2016 est.)
$48,900 (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: 0.6%
industry: 30.1%
services: 69.3%
(2017 est.)
agriculture: 0.7%
industry: 21.8%
services: 77.5% (2017 est.)
Population below poverty line16.7% (2015 est.)
15.1% (2013 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: 3.6%
highest 10%: 24% (2000)
lowest 10%: 3.4%
highest 10%: 28.4% (2006)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)1.6% (2017 est.)
0.4% (2016 est.)
2.2% (2017 est.)
1.8% (2016 est.)
Labor force45.9 million (2017 est.)
5.324 million (2017 est.)
Labor force - by occupationagriculture: 1.4%
industry: 24.2%
services: 74.3% (2016)
agriculture: 1.3%
industry: 18.6%
services: 80.1% (2013 est.)
Unemployment rate3.8% (2017 est.)
4.2% (2016 est.)
7.5% (2017 est.)
7.9% (2016 est.)
Distribution of family income - Gini index27 (2006)
30 (1994)
25.9 (2013 est.)
28.7 (1996)
Budgetrevenues: $1.598 trillion
expenditures: $1.573 trillion (2017 est.)
revenues: $249.7 billion
expenditures: $260 billion (2017 est.)
Industriesamong the world's largest and most technologically advanced producers of iron, steel, coal, cement, chemicals, machinery, vehicles, machine tools, electronics, automobiles, food and beverages, shipbuilding, textiles
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 rate1.4% (2017 est.)
1.5% (2017 est.)
Agriculture - productspotatoes, wheat, barley, sugar beets, fruit, cabbages; milk products; cattle, pigs, poultry
sugar beets, fresh vegetables, fruits, grain, tobacco; beef, veal, pork, milk
Exports$1.401 trillion (2017 est.)
$1.322 trillion (2016 est.)
$309.1 billion (2017 est.)
$277.7 billion (2016 est.)
Exports - commoditiesmotor vehicles, machinery, chemicals, computer and electronic products, electrical equipment, pharmaceuticals, metals, transport equipment, foodstuffs, textiles, rubber and plastic products
chemicals, machinery and equipment, finished diamonds, metals and metal products, foodstuffs
Exports - partnersUS 8.9%, France 8.4%, UK 7.1%, Netherlands 6.5%, China 6.4%, Italy 5.1%, Austria 5%, Poland 4.5%, Switzerland 4.2% (2016)
Germany 16.7%, France 15.4%, Netherlands 11.2%, UK 8.9%, US 5.8%, Italy 5.2% (2016)
Imports$1.104 trillion (2017 est.)
$1.022 trillion (2016 est.)
$306.1 billion (2017 est.)
$271.2 billion (2016 est.)
Imports - commoditiesmachinery, data processing equipment, vehicles, chemicals, oil and gas, metals, electric equipment, pharmaceuticals, foodstuffs, agricultural products
raw materials, machinery and equipment, chemicals, raw diamonds, pharmaceuticals, foodstuffs, transportation equipment, oil products
Imports - partnersNetherlands 13.3%, China 7.3%, France 7.3%, Belgium 6.1%, Italy 5.5%, Poland 5.2%, Czech Republic 4.7%, US 4.6%, Switzerland 4.4%, Austria 4.4%, UK 4.1% (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$5.326 trillion (31 March 2016 est.)
$5.21 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 debt65.7% of GDP (2017 est.)
68.4% of GDP (2016 est.)
note: general government gross debt is defined in the Maastricht Treaty as consolidated general government gross debt at nominal value, outstanding at the end of the year in the following categories of government liabilities (as defined in ESA95): currency and deposits (AF.2), securities other than shares excluding financial derivatives (AF.3, excluding AF.34), and loans (AF.4); the general government sector comprises the sub-sectors of central government, state government, local government and social security funds; the series are presented as a percentage of GDP and in millions of euro; GDP used as a denominator is the gross domestic product at current market prices; data expressed in national currency are converted into euro using end-of-year exchange rates provided by the European Central Bank
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$185.3 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$173.7 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$23.57 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$24.1 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Current Account Balance$296 billion (2017 est.)
$290.4 billion (2016 est.)
-$1.47 billion (2017 est.)
-$1.849 billion (2016 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate)$3.652 trillion (2016 est.)
$491.7 billion (2016 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home$1.455 trillion (31 December 2017 est.)
$1.391 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
$1.093 trillion (31 December 2017 est.)
$1.054 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad$2.074 trillion (31 December 2017 est.)
$1.981 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$1.716 trillion (31 December 2015 est.)
$1.739 trillion (31 December 2014 est.)
$1.936 trillion (31 December 2013 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 rate0.25% (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
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 rate1.8% (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$4.766 trillion (31 December 2017 est.)
$4.433 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
$783.2 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$684.8 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of narrow money$2.312 trillion (31 December 2017 est.)
$2.016 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$3.282 trillion (31 December 2017 est.)
$2.908 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
$601.3 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$525.8 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Taxes and other revenues43.8% of GDP (2017 est.)
50.8% of GDP (2017 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)0.7% of GDP (2017 est.)
-2.1% of GDP (2017 est.)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24total: 7.2%
male: 7.9%
female: 6.5% (2015 est.)
total: 22.1%
male: 23.8%
female: 20% (2015 est.)
GDP - composition, by end usehousehold consumption: 53.7%
government consumption: 19.9%
investment in fixed capital: 20.1%
investment in inventories: -1%
exports of goods and services: 47.3%
imports of goods and services: -40% (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 saving27.6% of GDP (2017 est.)
27.5% of GDP (2016 est.)
27.7% of GDP (2015 est.)
23.2% of GDP (2017 est.)
22.3% of GDP (2016 est.)
23.6% of GDP (2015 est.)

Energy

GermanyBelgium
Electricity - production588.5 billion kWh (2015 est.)
64.78 billion kWh (2015 est.)
Electricity - consumption514.6 billion kWh (2015 est.)
81.96 billion kWh (2015 est.)
Electricity - exports78.86 billion kWh (2016 est.)
8.465 billion kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - imports28.34 billion kWh (2016 est.)
14.65 billion kWh (2016 est.)
Oil - production46,590 bbl/day (2016 est.)
0 bbl/day (2016 est.)
Oil - imports1.837 million bbl/day (2016 est.)
639,500 bbl/day (2016 est.)
Oil - exports1,987 bbl/day (2016 est.)
0 bbl/day (2016 est.)
Oil - proved reserves145.4 million bbl (1 January 2017 es)
0 bbl (1 January 2017 es)
Natural gas - proved reserves41.99 billion cu m (1 January 2017 es)
0 cu m (1 January 2014 es)
Natural gas - production8.73 billion cu m (2015 est.)
0 cu m (2014 est.)
Natural gas - consumption773.2 billion cu m (2015 est.)
23.01 billion cu m (2015 est.)
Natural gas - exports32.51 billion cu m (2015 est.)
1.694 billion cu m (2015 est.)
Natural gas - imports102.5 billion cu m (2015 est.)
18.81 billion cu m (2015 est.)
Electricity - installed generating capacity204.1 million kW (2015 est.)
21.15 million kW (2015 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels42.6% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
34.8% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants2.2% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
0.5% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
Electricity - from nuclear fuels5.3% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
28% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
Electricity - from other renewable sources49.9% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
32.1% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
Refined petroleum products - production2.198 million bbl/day (2016 est.)
701,700 bbl/day (2016 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption2.41 million bbl/day (2016 est.)
662,400 bbl/day (2016 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports474,300 bbl/day (2016 est.)
597,000 bbl/day (2016 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports800,500 bbl/day (2016 est.)
585,700 bbl/day (2016 est.)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy744 million Mt (2015 est.)
93.62 million Mt (2013 est.)
Electricity accesselectrification - total population: 100% (2016)
electrification - total population: 100% (2016)

Telecommunications

GermanyBelgium
Telephones - main lines in usetotal subscriptions: 44.31 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 55 (July 2016 est.)
total subscriptions: 4,371,055
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 38 (July 2016 est.)
Telephones - mobile cellulartotal: 94,432,800
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 117 (July 2016 est.)
total: 12,457,820
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 109 (July 2016 est.)
Telephone systemgeneral assessment: one of the world's most technologically advanced telecommunications systems; as a result of intensive capital expenditures since reunification, the formerly backward system of the eastern part of the country, dating back to World War II, has been modernized and integrated with that of the western part
domestic: extensive system of automatic telephone exchanges connected by modern networks of fiber-optic cable, coaxial cable, microwave radio relay, and a domestic satellite system; cellular telephone service is widely available, expanding rapidly, and includes roaming service to many foreign countries
international: country code - 49; Germany's international service is excellent worldwide, consisting of extensive land and undersea cable facilities as well as earth stations in the Inmarsat, Intelsat, Eutelsat, and Intersputnik satellite systems (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 code.de
.be
Internet userstotal: 72,365,643
percent of population: 89.6% (July 2016 est.)
total: 9,870,734
percent of population: 86.5% (July 2016 est.)
Broadcast mediaa mixture of publicly operated and privately owned TV and radio stations; national and regional public broadcasters compete with nearly 400 privately owned national and regional TV stations; more than 90% of households have cable or satellite TV; hundreds of radio stations including multiple national radio networks, regional radio networks, and a large number of local radio stations (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

GermanyBelgium
Railwaystotal: 43,468.3 km
standard gauge: 43,209.3 km 1.435-m gauge (19,973 km electrified)
narrow gauge: 220 km 1.000-m gauge (79 km electrified); 15 km 0.900-m gauge; 24 km 0.750-m gauge (2014)
total: 3,592 km
standard gauge: 3,592 km 1.435-m gauge (2,960 km electrified) (2014)
Roadwaystotal: 645,000 km
paved: 645,000 km (includes 12,800 km of expressways)
note: includes local roads (2010)
total: 154,012 km
paved: 120,514 km (includes 1,756 km of expressways)
unpaved: 33,498 km (2010)
Waterways7,467 km (Rhine River carries most goods; Main-Danube Canal links North Sea and Black Sea) (2012)
2,043 km (1,528 km in regular commercial use) (2012)
Pipelinescondensate 37 km; gas 26,985 km; oil 2,826 km; refined products 4,479 km; water 8 km (2013)
gas 3,139 km; oil 154 km; refined products 535 km (2013)
Ports and terminalsmajor seaport(s): Baltic Sea - Rostock; North Sea - Wilhelmshaven
river port(s): Bremen (Weser); Bremerhaven (Geeste); Duisburg, Karlsruhe, Neuss-Dusseldorf (Rhine); Brunsbuttel, Hamburg (Elbe); Lubeck (Wakenitz)
oil terminal(s): Brunsbuttel Canal terminals
container port(s): Bremen/Bremerhaven (5,547,000), Hamburg (8,821,000) (2015)
LNG terminal(s) (import): Hamburg
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: 614
by type: bulk carrier 1, container ship 117, general cargo 87, oil tanker 34, other 375 (2017)
total: 185
by type: bulk carrier 15, general cargo 15, oil tanker 20, other 135 (2017)
Airports539 (2013)
41 (2013)
Airports - with paved runwaystotal: 318
over 3,047 m: 14
2,438 to 3,047 m: 49
1,524 to 2,437 m: 60
914 to 1,523 m: 70
under 914 m: 125 (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: 221
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 35
under 914 m: 185 (2013)
total: 15
under 914 m: 15 (2013)
Heliports23 (2013)
1 (2013)
National air transport systemnumber of registered air carriers: 20
inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 1,113
annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 115,540,886
annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 6,985,007,915 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 prefixD (2016)
OO (2016)

Military

GermanyBelgium
Military branchesFederal Armed Forces (Bundeswehr): Army (Heer), Navy (Deutsche Marine, includes naval air arm), Air Force (Luftwaffe), Joint Support Service (Streitkraeftebasis, SKB), Central Medical Service (Zentraler Sanitaetsdienst, ZSanDstBw), Cyber and Information Space Command (Kommando Cyber- und Informationsraum, Kdo CIR) (2017)
Belgian Armed Forces: Land Operations Command, Naval Operations Command, Air Operations Command (2012)
Military service age and obligation17-23 years of age for male and female voluntary military service; conscription ended 1 July 2011; service obligation 8-23 months or 12 years; women have been eligible for voluntary service in all military branches and positions since 2001 (2013)
18 years of age for male and female voluntary military service; conscription abolished in 1994 (2012)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP1.19% of GDP (2016 est.)
1.19% of GDP (2015)
1.19% of GDP (2014)
1.23% of GDP (2013)
1.31% 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

GermanyBelgium
Disputes - internationalnone
none
Illicit drugssource of precursor chemicals for South American cocaine processors; transshipment point for and consumer of Southwest Asian heroin, Latin American cocaine, and European-produced synthetic drugs; major financial center
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): 375,122 (Syria); 86,045 (Iraq); 46,292 (Afghanistan); 30,020 (Eritrea); 22,910 (Iran); 19,136 (Turkey); 9,189 (Serbia and Kosovo); 7,879 (Somalia); 5,255 (Russia); 5,169 (Pakistan) (2016); 10,305 (Ukraine) (2017) note: estimate represents asylum applicants since Ukraine crisis began in 2014 until September 2017
stateless persons: 12,017 (2016)
refugees (country of origin): 9,080 (Syria) (2016)
stateless persons: 2,630 (2016)

Source: CIA Factbook