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Germany vs. Belgium

Introduction

GermanyBelgium
Background

As 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 (now 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 DenmarkWestern Europe, bordering the North Sea, between France and the Netherlands
Geographic coordinates51 00 N, 9 00 E50 50 N, 4 00 E
Map referencesEuropeEurope
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 Montanaabout the size of Maryland
Land boundariestotal: 3,694 km

border countries (9): Austria 801 km, Belgium 133 km, Czechia 704 km, Denmark 140 km, France 418 km, Luxembourg 128 km, Netherlands 575 km, Poland 447 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 km66.5 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) windtemperate; mild winters, cool summers; rainy, humid, cloudy
Terrainlowlands in north, uplands in center, Bavarian Alps in southflat coastal plains in northwest, central rolling hills, rugged mountains of Ardennes Forest in southeast
Elevation extremeshighest point: Zugspitze 2,963 m

lowest point: Neuendorf bei Wilster -3.5 m

mean elevation: 263 m
highest point: Botrange 694 m

lowest point: North Sea 0 m

mean elevation: 181 m
Natural resourcescoal, lignite, natural gas, iron ore, copper, nickel, uranium, potash, salt, construction materials, timber, arable landconstruction materials, silica sand, carbonates, arable land
Land useagricultural land: 48% (2018 est.)

arable land: 34.1% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0.6% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 13.3% (2018 est.)

forest: 31.8% (2018 est.)

other: 20.2% (2018 est.)
agricultural land: 44.1% (2018 est.)

arable land: 27.2% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0.8% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 16.1% (2018 est.)

forest: 22.4% (2018 est.)

other: 33.5% (2018 est.)
Irrigated land6,500 sq km (2012)230 sq km (2012)
Natural hazardsfloodingflooding 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 directiveintense 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-Heavy Metals, Air Pollution-Multi-effect Protocol, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulphur 85, Air Pollution-Sulphur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protection, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping-London Convention, Marine Dumping-London Protocol, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 2006, Wetlands, Whaling

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Heavy Metals, Air Pollution-Multi-effect Protocol, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulphur 85, Air Pollution-Sulphur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protection, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping-London Convention, Marine Dumping-London Protocol, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 2006, 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 eastwardcrossroads of Western Europe; most West European capitals are within 1,000 km of Brussels, the seat of both the European Union and NATO
Total renewable water resources154 billion cubic meters (2017 est.)18.3 billion cubic meters (2017 est.)
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-Westphaliamost 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
Population79,903,481 (July 2021 est.)11,778,842 (July 2021 est.)
Age structure0-14 years: 12.89% (male 5,302,850/female 5,025,863)

15-24 years: 9.81% (male 4,012,412/female 3,854,471)

25-54 years: 38.58% (male 15,553,328/female 15,370,417)

55-64 years: 15.74% (male 6,297,886/female 6,316,024)

65 years and over: 22.99% (male 8,148,873/female 10,277,538) (2020 est.)
0-14 years: 17.22% (male 1,033,383/female 984,624)

15-24 years: 11.2% (male 670,724/female 642,145)

25-54 years: 39.23% (male 2,319,777/female 2,278,450)

55-64 years: 13.14% (male 764,902/female 775,454)

65 years and over: 19.21% (male 988,148/female 1,263,109) (2020 est.)
Median agetotal: 47.8 years

male: 46.5 years

female: 49.1 years (2020 est.)
total: 41.6 years

male: 40.4 years

female: 42.8 years (2020 est.)
Population growth rate-0.21% (2021 est.)0.59% (2021 est.)
Birth rate8.63 births/1,000 population (2021 est.)11.03 births/1,000 population (2021 est.)
Death rate12.22 deaths/1,000 population (2021 est.)9.71 deaths/1,000 population (2021 est.)
Net migration rate1.5 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2021 est.)4.58 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2021 est.)
Sex ratioat birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.06 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 1.01 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 1 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.79 male(s)/female

total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2020 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: 0.99 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.78 male(s)/female

total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2020 est.)
Infant mortality ratetotal: 3.24 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 3.61 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 2.84 deaths/1,000 live births (2021 est.)
total: 3.24 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 3.68 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 2.78 deaths/1,000 live births (2021 est.)
Life expectancy at birthtotal population: 81.3 years

male: 78.93 years

female: 83.8 years (2021 est.)
total population: 81.65 years

male: 79.02 years

female: 84.4 years (2021 est.)
Total fertility rate1.48 children born/woman (2021 est.)1.77 children born/woman (2021 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate0.1% (2020 est.)NA
Nationalitynoun: German(s)

adjective: German
noun: Belgian(s)

adjective: Belgian
Ethnic groupsGerman 86.3%, Turkish 1.8%, Polish 1%, Syrian 1%, Romanian 1%, other/stateless/unspecified 8.9% (2020 est.)

note:  data represent population by nationality
Belgian 75.2%, Italian 4.1%, Moroccan 3.7%, French 2.4%, Turkish 2%, Dutch 2%, other 10.6% (2012 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS93,000 (2020 est.)

note: estimate does not include children
NA
ReligionsRoman Catholic 27.1%, Protestant 24.9%, Muslim 5.2%, Orthodox 2%, other Christian 1%, other 1%, none 38.8% (2019 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<500 (2020 est.)

note: estimate does not include children
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

major-language sample(s):
Das World Factbook, die unverzichtbare Quelle für grundlegende Informationen. (German)

The World Factbook, the indispensable source for basic information.
Dutch (official) 60%, French (official) 40%, German (official) less than 1%

major-language sample(s):
Het Wereld Feitenboek, een omnisbare bron van informatie. (Dutch)

The World Factbook, une source indispensable d'informations de base. (French)

The World Factbook, the indispensable source for basic information.
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)total: 17 years

male: 17 years

female: 17 years (2018)
total: 20 years

male: 19 years

female: 21 years (2018)
Education expenditures4.9% of GDP (2017)6.4% of GDP (2017)
Urbanizationurban population: 77.5% of total population (2021)

rate of urbanization: 0.13% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)
urban population: 98.1% of total population (2021)

rate of urbanization: 0.38% annual rate of change (2020-25 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 (2017 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 (2017 est.)
Sanitation facility accessimproved: 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 (2017 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 (2017 est.)
Major cities - population3.567 million BERLIN (capital), 1.789 million Hamburg, 1.553 million Munich, 1.129 million Cologne, 785,000 Frankfurt (2021)2.096 million BRUSSELS (capital), 1.048 million Antwerp (2021)
Maternal mortality rate7 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)5 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight0.5% (2014/17)1% (2014/15)
Health expenditures11.4% (2018)10.3% (2018)
Physicians density4.25 physicians/1,000 population (2017)3.07 physicians/1,000 population (2017)
Hospital bed density8 beds/1,000 population (2017)5.7 beds/1,000 population (2017)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate22.3% (2016)22.1% (2016)
Mother's mean age at first birth29.8 years (2019 est.)29.2 years (2019 est.)
Contraceptive prevalence rate67% (2018)

note: percent of women aged 18-49
66.7% (2018)
Dependency ratiostotal dependency ratio: 55.4

youth dependency ratio: 21.7

elderly dependency ratio: 33.7

potential support ratio: 3 (2020 est.)
total dependency ratio: 57

youth dependency ratio: 26.7

elderly dependency ratio: 30.2

potential support ratio: 3.3 (2020 est.)

Government

GermanyBelgium
Country nameconventional 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 republicfederal 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

etymology: the origin of the name is unclear but may be related to the old West Slavic (Polabian) word "berl" or "birl," meaning "swamp"
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

etymology: may derive from the Old Dutch "bruoc/broek," meaning "marsh" and "sella/zele/sel" signifying "home" to express the meaning "home in the marsh"
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 Bremen calls itself a Free Hanseatic City (Freie Hansestadt) and Hamburg considers itself 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 10-23 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 2020; note - in early 2021, the German federal government introduced a bill to incorporate children’s rights into the constitution
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 2019
Legal systemcivil law systemcivil 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 elections18 years of age; universal and compulsory
Executive branchchief of state: President Frank-Walter STEINMEIER (since 19 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 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; president serves a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 12 February 2017 (next to be held in February 2022); following the most recent Federal Parliament election, the party or coalition with the most representatives usually elects the chancellor (Angela MERKEL since 2005) and appointed by the president to serve a renewable 4-year term; Federal Parliament vote for chancellor last held on 14 March 2018 (next to be held after the Bundestag elections in 2021)

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 - 364 to 315
chief of state: King PHILIPPE (since 21 July 2013); Heir Apparent Princess ELISABETH (daughter of the monarch, born 25 October 2001)

head of government: Prime Minister Alexander DE CROO (since 1 October 2020); Deputy Prime Ministers Vincent Van Quickenborne (since 1 October 2020), Sophie Wilmes (since 1 October 2020), Vincent Van Peteghem (since 1 October 2020), Frank Vandenbroucke (since 1 October 2020), Pierre-Yves Dermagne (since 1 October 2020), Petra De Sutter (since 1 October 2020), Georges Gilkinet (since 1 October 2020)

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:
Federal Council or Bundesrat (69 seats; members appointed by each of the 16 state governments)
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:
Bundesrat - none; 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
Bundestag - last held on 24 September 2017 (next to be held in 2021 at the latest); most postwar German governments have been coalitions

election results:
Bundesrat - composition - men 50, women 19, percent of women 27.5%
Bundestag - percent of vote by party - CDU/CSU 33%, SPD 20.5%, AfD 12.6%, FDP 10.7%, The Left 9.2%, Alliance '90/Greens 8.9%, other 5%; seats by party - CDU/CSU 246, SPD 152, AfD 91, FDP 80, The Left 69, Alliance '90/Greens 67; composition - men 490, women 219, percent of women 30.5%; note - total Parliament percent of women 30.5%
description: bicameral Parliament consists of:
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)
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)

elections:

Senate - last held 26 May 2019 (next to be held in 2024)

Chamber of Representatives - last held on 26 May 2019 (next to be held in 2024); note - elections coincided with the EU elections

election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA; composition men 32, women 28, percent of women 46.7%

Chamber of Representatives - percent of vote by party - N-VA 16.0%, VB 11.9%, PS 9.5%, CD&V 8.9%, PVDA+/PTB 8.62%, Open VLD 8.5%, MR 7.6%, SP.A 6.7%, Ecolo 6.1%, Groen 6.1%, CDH 3.7%, Defi 2.2%, PP 1.1%, other 20.1%; seats by party - N-VA 25, VB 18, PS 20, CD&V 12, PVDA+PTB 12, Open VLD 12, MR 14, SP.A 9, Ecolo 13, Groen 8, CDH 5, Defi 2; composition - men 86, women 64, percent of women 42.7%

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

Judicial branchhighest courts: Federal Court of Justice (court consists of 127 judges, including the court president, vice presidents, presiding judges, 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; 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 federated states or Land has its own constitutional court and a hierarchy of ordinary (civil, criminal, family) and specialized (administrative, finance, labor, social) courts; two English-speaking commercial courts opened in late 2020 in the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg - English-speaking Stuttgart Commercial Court and English-speaking Mannheim Commercial Court
highest courts: 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 [Annalena BAERBOCK and Robert HABECK]
Alternative for Germany or AfD [Alexander GAULAND - Honorary President, Joerg MEUTHEN and Tino CHRUPALLA]
Christian Democratic Union or CDU [Armin LASCHET]
Christian Social Union or CSU [Markus SOEDER]
Free Democratic Party or FDP [Christian LINDNER]
The Left or Die Linke [Janine WISSLER and Susanne HENNING-WELLSOW]
Social Democratic Party or SPD [Saskia ESKEN and Norbert WALTER-BORJANS]
Flemish parties:
Christian Democratic and Flemish or CD&V [Joachim COENS]
Flemish Liberals and Democrats or Open VLD [Egbert LACHAERT]
Groen or Green [Meyrem ALMACI] (formerly AGALEV, Flemish Greens)
New Flemish Alliance or N-VA [Bart DE WEVER]
Social Progressive Alternative or SP.A [Conner ROUSSEAU]
Vlaams Belang (Flemish Interest) or VB [Tom VAN GRIEKEN]
Francophone parties:
Ecolo (Francophone Greens) [Jean-Marc NOLLET, Rajae MAOUANE]
Francophone Federalist Democrats or Defi [Olivier MAINGAIN]
Humanist and Democratic Center or CDH [Maxine PREVOT]
People's Party or PP [Mischael MODRIKAMEN]
Reform Movement or MR [George-Louis BOUCHEZ]
Socialist Party or PS [Paul MAGNETTE]
Workers' Party or PTB [Peter MERTENS]
other minor parties
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, ZCADB (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 Emily Margarethe HABER (since 22 June 2018)

chancery: 4645 Reservoir Road NW, Washington, DC 20007

telephone: [1] (202) 298-4000

FAX: [1] (202) 298-4261

email address and website:
info@washington.diplo.de

https://www.germany.info/us-en

consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco
chief of mission: Ambassador Jean-Arthur REGIBEAU (since 17 September 2020)

chancery: 1430 K Street NW, Washington DC 20005

telephone: [1] (202) 333-6900

FAX: [1] (202) 338-4960

email address and website:
Washington@diplobel.fed.be

https://unitedstates.diplomatie.belgium.be/en

consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Los Angeles, New York
Diplomatic representation from the USchief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Chargé d’Affaires Woodward "Clark" PRICE (since 1 July 2021)

embassy: Pariser Platz 2, 10117 Berlin

Clayallee 170, 14191 Berlin (administrative services)

mailing address: 5090 Berlin Place, Washington DC  20521-5090

telephone: [49] (30) 8305-0

FAX: [49] (30) 8305-1215

email address and website:
BerlinPCO@state.gov

https://de.usembassy.gov/

consulate(s) general: Dusseldorf, Frankfurt am Main, Hamburg, Leipzig, Munich
chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Nicholas BERLINER (since 20 January 2021)

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

mailing address: 7600 Brussels Place, Washington DC  20521-7600

telephone: [32] (2) 811-4000

FAX: [32] (2) 811-4500

email address and website:
uscitizenBrussels@state.gov

https://be.usembassy.gov/
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 fieldthree 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 anthemname: "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 jurisdictionaccepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
National symbol(s)eagle; national colors: black, red, yellowgolden 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 - overview

The 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. Germany benefits from a highly skilled labor force, but, like its Western European neighbors, 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 economic 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.

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.

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. Domestic consumption, investment, and exports are likely to drive German GDP growth in 2018, and the country’s budget and trade surpluses are likely to remain high.

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. Service and high-tech industries are concentrated in the northern Flanders region while the southern region of Wallonia is home to industries like coal and steel manufacturing. Belgium is completely 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, and the port of Zeebrugge conducts almost half its trade with the United Kingdom alone, leaving Belgium’s economy vulnerable to the outcome of negotiations on the UK’s exit from the EU.

Belgium’s GDP grew by 1.7% in 2017 and the budget deficit was 1.5% of GDP. Unemployment stood at 7.3%, however the unemployment rate is lower in Flanders than Wallonia, 4.4% compared to 9.4%, because of industrial differences between the regions. The economy largely recovered from the March 2016 terrorist attacks that 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 would 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 labor market rules and welfare benefits. These changes have generally made Belgian wages more competitive regionally, but have raised tensions with trade unions, which have called for extended strikes. In 2017, Belgium approved a tax reform plan to ease corporate rates from 33% to 29% by 2018 and down to 25% by 2020. The tax plan also included benefits for innovation and SMEs, intended to spur competitiveness and private investment.

GDP (purchasing power parity)$4,482,448,000,000 (2019 est.)

$4,457,688,000,000 (2018 est.)

$4,401,873,000,000 (2017 est.)

note: data are in 2010 dollars
$596.414 billion (2019 est.)

$586.192 billion (2018 est.)

$575.757 billion (2017 est.)

note: data are in 2010 dollars
GDP - real growth rate0.59% (2019 est.)

1.3% (2018 est.)

2.91% (2017 est.)
1.41% (2019 est.)

1.49% (2018 est.)

1.9% (2017 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$53,919 (2019 est.)

$53,768 (2018 est.)

$53,255 (2017 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars
$51,934 (2019 est.)

$51,299 (2018 est.)

$50,615 (2017 est.)

note: data are in 2010 dollars
GDP - composition by sectoragriculture: 0.7% (2017 est.)

industry: 30.7% (2017 est.)

services: 68.6% (2017 est.)
agriculture: 0.7% (2017 est.)

industry: 22.1% (2017 est.)

services: 77.2% (2017 est.)
Population below poverty line14.8% (2018 est.)14.8% (2018 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)1.4% (2019 est.)

1.7% (2018 est.)

1.5% (2017 est.)
1.4% (2019 est.)

2% (2018 est.)

2.1% (2017 est.)
Labor force44.585 million (2020 est.)4.122 million (2020 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 rate4.98% (2019 est.)

5.19% (2018 est.)
5.36% (2019 est.)

5.96% (2018 est.)
Distribution of family income - Gini index31.9 (2016 est.)

30 (1994)
27.4 (2017 est.)

28.7 (1996)
Budgetrevenues: 1.665 trillion (2017 est.)

expenditures: 1.619 trillion (2017 est.)
revenues: 253.5 billion (2017 est.)

expenditures: 258.6 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, textilesengineering and metal products, motor vehicle assembly, transportation equipment, scientific instruments, processed food and beverages, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, base metals, textiles, glass, petroleum
Industrial production growth rate3.3% (2017 est.)0.2% (2017 est.)
Agriculture - productsmilk, sugar beet, wheat, barley, potatoes, pork, maize, rye, rapeseed, triticalesugar beet, milk, potatoes, wheat, pork, lettuce, poultry, maize, barley, pears
Exports$2,004,158,000,000 (2019 est.)

$1,984,745,000,000 (2018 est.)

$1,937,273,000,000 (2017 est.)
$474.278 billion (2019 est.)

$469.48 billion (2018 est.)

$466.732 billion (2017 est.)
Exports - commoditiescars and vehicle parts, packaged medicines, aircraft, medical cultures/vaccines, industrial machinery (2019)cars and vehicle parts, refined petroleum, packaged medicines, medical cultures/vaccines, diamonds, natural gas (2019)
Exports - partnersUnited States 9%, France 8%, China 7%, Netherlands 6%, United Kingdom 6%, Italy 5%, Poland 5%, Austria 5% (2019)Germany 17%, France 14%, Netherlands 13%, United Kingdom 8%, United States 6%, Italy 5% (2019)
Imports$1,804,453,000,000 (2019 est.)

$1,759,299,000,000 (2018 est.)

$1,695,300,000,000 (2017 est.)
$473.129 billion (2019 est.)

$469.546 billion (2018 est.)

$463.706 billion (2017 est.)
Imports - commoditiescars and vehicle parts, packaged medicines, crude petroleum, refined petroleum, medical cultures/vaccines (2019)cars, refined petroleum, packaged medicines, medical cultures/vaccines, diamonds, natural gas (2019)
Imports - partnersNetherlands 9%, China 8%, France 7%, Belgium 6%, Poland 6%, Italy 6%, Czechia 5%, United States 5% (2019)Netherlands 16%, Germany 13%, France 10%, United States 8%, Ireland 5%, China 5% (2019)
Debt - external$5,671,463,000,000 (2019 est.)

$5,751,408,000,000 (2018 est.)
$1,317,513,000,000 (2019 est.)

$1,332,358,000,000 (2018 est.)
Exchange rateseuros (EUR) per US dollar -

0.82771 (2020 est.)

0.90338 (2019 est.)

0.87789 (2018 est.)

0.885 (2014 est.)

0.7634 (2013 est.)
euros (EUR) per US dollar -

0.82771 (2020 est.)

0.90338 (2019 est.)

0.87789 (2018 est.)

0.885 (2014 est.)

0.7634 (2013 est.)
Fiscal yearcalendar yearcalendar year
Public debt63.9% of GDP (2017 est.)

67.9% 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 euros; 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
103.4% 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$200.1 billion (31 December 2017 est.)

$173.7 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$26.16 billion (31 December 2017 est.)

$24.1 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Current Account Balance$280.238 billion (2019 est.)

$297.434 billion (2018 est.)
$1.843 billion (2019 est.)

-$4.135 billion (2018 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate)$3,860,923,000,000 (2019 est.)$533.028 billion (2019 est.)
Taxes and other revenues45% (of GDP) (2017 est.)51.3% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)1.3% (of GDP) (2017 est.)-1% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24total: 5.8%

male: 6.6%

female: 4.8% (2019 est.)
total: 14.2%

male: 16%

female: 12.3% (2019 est.)
GDP - composition, by end usehousehold consumption: 53.1% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 19.5% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 20.4% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: -0.5% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 47.3% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -39.7% (2017 est.)
household consumption: 51.2% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 23.4% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 23.3% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: 1.3% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 85.1% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -84.4% (2017 est.)
Gross national saving28.5% of GDP (2019 est.)

28.7% of GDP (2018 est.)

28.4% of GDP (2017 est.)
25.3% of GDP (2019 est.)

24.8% of GDP (2018 est.)

25.2% of GDP (2017 est.)

Energy

GermanyBelgium
Electricity - production612.8 billion kWh (2016 est.)79.83 billion kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - consumption536.5 billion kWh (2016 est.)82.16 billion kWh (2016 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 - production41,000 bbl/day (2018 est.)0 bbl/day (2018 est.)
Oil - imports1.836 million bbl/day (2017 est.)687,600 bbl/day (2017 est.)
Oil - exports6,569 bbl/day (2017 est.)0 bbl/day (2017 est.)
Oil - proved reserves129.6 million bbl (1 January 2018 est.)0 bbl (1 January 2018 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves39.5 billion cu m (1 January 2018 est.)0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)
Natural gas - production7.9 billion cu m (2017 est.)0 cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - consumption93.36 billion cu m (2017 est.)17.61 billion cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - exports34.61 billion cu m (2017 est.)736.2 million cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - imports119.5 billion cu m (2017 est.)18.09 billion cu m (2017 est.)
Electricity - installed generating capacity208.5 million kW (2016 est.)21.56 million kW (2016 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels41% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)35% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants2% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)1% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Electricity - from nuclear fuels5% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)28% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Electricity - from other renewable sources52% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)36% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Refined petroleum products - production2.158 million bbl/day (2017 est.)731,700 bbl/day (2017 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption2.46 million bbl/day (2017 est.)648,600 bbl/day (2017 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports494,000 bbl/day (2017 est.)680,800 bbl/day (2017 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports883,800 bbl/day (2017 est.)601,400 bbl/day (2017 est.)
Electricity accesselectrification - total population: 100% (2020)electrification - total population: 100% (2020)

Telecommunications

GermanyBelgium
Telephones - main lines in usetotal subscriptions: 40.4 million

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 50.35 (2019 est.)
total subscriptions: 3,930,410

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 33.78 (2019 est.)
Telephones - mobile cellulartotal subscriptions: 107.2 million

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 133.61 (2019 est.)
total subscriptions: 11,509,573

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 98.92 (2019 est.)
Internet country code.de.be
Internet userstotal: 72,202,773

percent of population: 89.74% (July 2018 est.)
total: 10,258,638

percent of population: 88.66% (July 2018 est.)
Telecommunication systemsgeneral assessment:

one of the world's most technologically advanced telecom systems with additional security measures; LTE universally available and 5G service to over 80% of population; mobile market is driven by data, with increased broadband subscribership; regulatory measures aimed at facilitating wholesale network access to provide fiber-based broadband services; government aims to provide smart technology solutions; over 60 cities use smart technology in urban development, many through joint initiative with private sector, utility companies, and universities; importer of broadcast equipment and computers from China (2021)

(2020)

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; 48 per 100 for fixed-line and 128 per 100 for mobile-cellular (2019)

international: country code - 49; landing points for SeaMeWe-3, TAT-14, AC-1, CONTACT-3, Fehmarn Balt, C-Lion1, GC1, GlobalConnect-KPN, and Germany-Denmark 2 & 3 - submarine cables to Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Southeast Asia and Australia; as well as earth stations in the Inmarsat, Intelsat, Eutelsat, and Intersputnik satellite systems (2019)

note: the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a significant impact on production and supply chains globally; since 2020, some aspects of the telecom sector have experienced downturn, particularly in mobile device production; many network operators delayed upgrades to infrastructure; progress towards 5G implementation was postponed or slowed in some countries; consumer spending on telecom services and devices was affected by large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes; the crucial nature of telecom services as a tool for work and school from home became evident, and received some support from governments

general assessment:

Belgium has a highly developed, technologically advanced telecom system; LTE is nearly universal; ongoing investment in 5G with services to dozens of cities and towns; competition between the DSL and cable platforms with investment in fiber networks; 5G; operators accelerating fiber roll-out program; Brussels Airport collaborating with operator to deploy 5G and IoT solutions; international connections through satellite and submarine cables; importer of broadcast equipment from EU neighbors (2021)

(2020)

domestic: 34 per 100 fixed-line, 100 per 100 mobile-cellular; nationwide mobile-cellular telephone system; extensive cable network; limited microwave radio relay network (2019)

international: country code - 32; landing points for Concerto, UK-Belgium, Tangerine, and SeaMeWe-3, submarine cables that provide links to Europe, the Middle East, Australia and Asia; satellite earth stations - 7 (Intelsat - 3) (2019)

note: the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a significant impact on production and supply chains globally; since 2020, some aspects of the telecom sector have experienced downturn, particularly in mobile device production; many network operators delayed upgrades to infrastructure; progress towards 5G implementation was postponed or slowed in some countries; consumer spending on telecom services and devices was affected by large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes; the crucial nature of telecom services as a tool for work and school from home became evident, and received some support from governments

Broadband - fixed subscriptionstotal: 35,071,539

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 43.71 (2019 est.)
total: 4,590,707

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 39.45 (2019 est.)
Broadcast mediaa mixture of publicly operated and privately owned TV and radio stations; 70 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 stationsa 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

Transportation

GermanyBelgium
Railwaystotal: 33,590 km (2017)

standard gauge: 33,331 km 1.435-m gauge (19,973 km electrified) (2015)

narrow gauge: 220 km 1.000-m gauge (79 km electrified)

15 km 0.900-m gauge, 24 km 0.750-m gauge (2015)
total: 3,592 km (2014)

standard gauge: 3,592 km 1.435-m gauge (2,960 km electrified) (2014)
Roadwaystotal: 625,000 km (2017)

paved: 625,000 km (includes 12,996 km of expressways) (2017)

note: includes local roads
total: 118,414 km (2015)

paved: 118,414 km (includes 1,747 km of expressways) (2015)
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)
Pipelines37 km condensate, 26985 km gas, 2400 km oil, 4479 km refined products, 8 km water (2013)3139 km gas, 154 km oil, 535 km refined products (2013)
Ports and terminalsmajor seaport(s): Baltic Sea - Kiel, Rostock
North Sea - Bremerhaven, Brunsbuttel, Emden, Hamburg, Wilhelmshaven

oil terminal(s): Brunsbuttel Canal terminals

container port(s) (TEUs): Bremen/Bremerhaven (4,856,900), Hamburg (9,274,215) (2019)

LNG terminal(s) (import): Hamburg

river port(s): Bremen (Weser); Bremerhaven (Geeste); Duisburg, Karlsruhe, Neuss-Dusseldorf (Rhine); Lubeck (Wakenitz); Brunsbuttel, Hamburg (Elbe)
major seaport(s): Oostende, Zeebrugge

container port(s) (TEUs): Antwerp (11,860,204) (2019)

LNG terminal(s) (import): Zeebrugge

river port(s): Antwerp, Gent (Schelde River)

Brussels (Senne River) Liege (Meuse River)
Merchant marinetotal: 607

by type: bulk carrier 1, container ship 84, general cargo 86, oil tanker 37, other 399 (2020)
total: 203

by type: bulk carrier 21, container ship 5, general cargo 16, oil tanker 25, other 136 (2020)
Airportstotal: 539 (2013)total: 41 (2013)
Airports - with paved runwaystotal: 318 (2017)

over 3,047 m: 14 (2017)

2,438 to 3,047 m: 49 (2017)

1,524 to 2,437 m: 60 (2017)

914 to 1,523 m: 70 (2017)

under 914 m: 125 (2017)
total: 26 (2019)

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
Airports - with unpaved runwaystotal: 221 (2013)

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2013)

914 to 1,523 m: 35 (2013)

under 914 m: 185 (2013)
total: 15 (2013)

under 914 m: 15 (2013)
Heliports23 (2013)1 (2013)
National air transport systemnumber of registered air carriers: 20 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 1,113

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 109,796,202 (2018)

annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 7,969,860,000 mt-km (2018)
number of registered air carriers: 7 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 117

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 13,639,487 (2018)

annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 1,285,340,000 mt-km (2018)
Civil aircraft registration country code prefixDOO

Military

GermanyBelgium
Military branchesFederal Armed Forces (Bundeswehr): Army (Heer), Navy (Deutsche Marine, includes naval air arm), Air Force (Luftwaffe, includes air defense), Joint Support Service (Streitkraeftebasis, SKB), Central Medical Service (Zentraler Sanitaetsdienst, ZSanDstBw), Cyber and Information Space Command (Kommando Cyber- und Informationsraum, Kdo CIR) (2021)Belgian Armed Forces: Land Component, Naval Component, Air Component, Medical Service (2021)
Military service age and obligation17-23 years of age for male and female voluntary military service; conscription ended 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 (2019)18 years of age for male and female voluntary military service; conscription abolished in 1995 (2019)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP1.56% of GDP (2020 est.)

1.36% of GDP (2019)

1.25% of GDP (2018)

1.23% of GDP (2017)

1.2% of GDP (2016)
1.07% of GDP (2020 est.)

0.89% of GDP (2019)

0.89% of GDP (2018)

0.88% of GDP (2017)

0.89% of GDP (2016)
Military - notethe Federal Republic of Germany joined NATO in May 1955; with the reunification of Germany in October 1990, the states of the former German Democratic Republic joined the Federal Republic of Germany in its membership of NATOBelgium is a member of NATO and was one of the original 12 countries to sign the North Atlantic Treaty (also known as the Washington Treaty) in 1949

in 2018, the Defense Ministers of Belgium, Denmark and the Netherlands signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the creation of a Composite Special Operations Component Command (C-SOCC); the C-SOCC was declared operational in December 2020

Transnational Issues

GermanyBelgium
Disputes - international

none

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 centergrowing 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): 572,818 (Syria), 141,650 (Iraq), 140,366 (Afghanistan), 58,569 (Eritrea), 43,244 (Iran), 28,470 (Turkey), 26,015 (Somalia), 8,722 (Russia), 8,639 (Serbia and Kosovo), 8,125 (Pakistan), 7,828 (Nigeria) (2019)

stateless persons: 26,675 (2020)
refugees (country of origin): 16,604 (Syria), 5,602 (Iraq), 5,070 (Afghanistan) (2019)

stateless persons: 1,264 (2020)

Source: CIA Factbook