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E-Book on Belgium

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E-Book on Belgium

  1. 1. elgium is one of the most developed western European countries, which has played and still plays an important role in the evolution of the European Union. It was one of the founding members of the EU and its capital, Brussels, hosts the headquarters of EU and NATO institu- Welcome to BelgiumBelgie!!!
  2. 2. For such a small country, Belgium has been a major European battleground over the centuries. Occupied by Germany during World Wars I and II, it has experienced an economic boom in the last 50 years to become a model Western European liberal democracy. Belgium also has a small colonial legacy in Africa: in Rwanda, Burundi and the Demo- cratic Republic of Congo - once Zaire. It is the oldest free country in Europe as the first to receive a charter of rights in 1066. The scene of Napoleon's final defeat at Waterloo was in Belgium. Europe's first casino, "la Redoute", was opened in 1763 in Belgium. Belgians were credited with inventing oil painting in the 15th century. . Belgium has, since the Middle Ages, always been one of the richest and most devel- oped regions in the world. Just look at the historic churches, town halls, and pieces of art, in cities such as Brussels, Ghent, Bruges, and Antwerp to get an idea of the wealth during the mediaeval and Renaissance periods, when only the North of Italy could rival its splendor and artistic development. During its second golden age, the half century before World War I, Belgium was in abso- lute terms the fourth economic power in the world. If you take into account that the oth- er industrial powers had a 5 to 10 times larger population, the achievement is impres- sive.
  3. 3. 1066 A.D. 15th Century 16th Century 1763 Huy, Belgium becomes the first and oldest free city in Europe. Belgians invented oil paint- ing.”Flemish primitives" revolu- tionized painting. Spaniards occupy Belgium and got separated from Hol- land after the REFORMATION. Europe's first casino, "la Redoute", was opened in Begique! 1830 Between 1845-1848 1830-1850 1921 Belgium gets Independence. Karl Marx wrote the Communist Manifesto with Friedrich Engles Belgian mathematician, Adolphe Quetelet (1796–1874), devised the Body Mass In- dex (BMI) between 1830 and 1850. One of the first countries to have a female parlia- mentarian. 1948 1984 March 2009 2015 Diplomatic Relations established between India and Belgium. Belgium Embassy built in New Delhi. Indian Business Chamber of Luxembourg (IBCL) constituted to promote commercial Major Counter— Terrorism raid in
  4. 4. Full name: Kingdom of Belgium National name: Royaume de Belgique—Koninkrijk België Prime Minister : Charles Michel(2014) Sovereign : King Philippe Population (2014 est.) :10,449,361;growth rate: 0.05%; birth rate : 9.99/1000; infant mortality rate: 4.18/1000 Constitution : 1994(revised) Capital: Brussels ,other cities—Antwerp(452,474) Area: 30,528 sq. km (11,787 sq. miles) Major languages: Dutch, French, German Major religion: Christianity Life expectancy: 77 years (men), 83 years (women) (UN) National Holiday : Ascension to the thrown of King Leopold I on July 21st Monetary unit: 1 euro = 100 cents Main exports: Machinery and electrical equipment, chemicals, vehicles, metals, diamonds GNI per capita: US $45,910 (World Bank, 2010) Internet domain: .be International dialling code: +32
  5. 5. Belgium is noted for its strong culinary traditions and is particularly famous for its fine chocolate and array of beers. Located in western Europe, Belgium has about 40 mi of seacoast on the North Sea, at the Strait of Dover, and is approximately the size of Mary- land. The Meuse and the Schelde, Belgium's principal rivers, are important commercial arteries. Belgians tend to be liberal thinkers. They legalised euthanasia in 2002, and gay marriage in 2003.A 2007 European Report stated Belgium has the lowest salary gap be- tween men and women in the EU after Malta. Belgium has the highest proportion of fe- male ministers in the world (55% in 2000) .Belgium also has enforced compulsory voting. The many contacts with various cultures made Belgians tolerant and flexible . Like the other domains of culture and society, Belgian art moves between the two poles of practical materialism and open-minded rebelliousness . The Belgium state was created more as a buffer-region between France and the Nether- lands. Therefore, a Belgian nation has never really existed in the history. In fact, today, citizens of Belgium do not see themselves as Belgian, but rather Flemish or Walloons. Geographically and culturally, Belgium is at the crossroads of Europe, and dur- ing the past 2,000 years has witnessed a constant ebb and flow of different rac- es and cultures. Consequently, Belgium is one of Europe's true melting pots with Celtic, Roman, Germanic, French, Dutch, Spanish, and Austrian cultures having made an imprint.
  6. 6. Economy – Comparative Analysis with India GDP per capita,Purchasing Power Parity Exports of passenger cars, number of cars per year.
  7. 7. Public Spending on Education, per- cent of GDP Human Development Index(0-1) Economy – Comparative Analysis with India Contd.
  8. 8. Economic summary: GDP/PPP $421.7 billion; per capita $37,800. Real growth rate: 0.1%. Inflation: 1.3%. Unemployment: 8.8%. Arable land: 27.06%. Agriculture: sugar beets, fresh vegetables, fruits, grain, tobacco; beef, veal, pork, milk. Labor force: 5.15 million (2011 est.); agricul- ture 2%, industry 25%, services 73% (2007 est.). Industries: engineering and metal products, motor vehicle assembly, transportation equipment, scien- tific instruments, processed food and beverages, chemicals, basic metals, textiles, glass, petroleum. Natural resources: construction materials, silica sand, carbonates. Exports: $295.3 billion (2013 est.): machinery and equipment, chemicals, diamonds, metals and metal products, foodstuffs. Imports: $310.2 billion (2013 est.): machinery and equipment, chemicals, diamonds, pharmaceuticals, foodstuffs, transportation equipment, oil products. Major trading partners: Germany, France, Netherlands, UK, U.S., Italy, Ireland (2012). Although the exact number is disputed, Belgium makes over 800 different beers. Belgians drink an average of 150 litres of beer per year per person.Belgium produces 220,000 tons of chocolate per year. That’s about 22kg of chocolate per person in Belgium. Luckily Belgians don’t eat all of that chocolate. The Brussels’ International Airport is the World’s biggest chocolate selling point. Belgium has one of the lowest proportions of McDonald’s in the developed world. It has 7 times fewer McDonald’s restaurants than the USA and 2 times less than France. 80% of billiard players use Belgian-made balls. It has the world's longest rail network with 4078 kilometres if you add all the tracks together. Cable TV penetration is the highest in Belgium at 97 percent of households. It offers over 1.000 different beers from 150 breweries acclaimed for their variety, flavour and character. It is the world's largest diamond trading centre. It has the highest density of Michelin star-rated restaurants in Europe. It is the 2nd largest petrochemical centre in the world. It has the highest density of railroad network in the world, with a total of 2,534 miles. Major Industries and Companies
  9. 9. Global Rank Company Sales ($billion) Profits ($billion) Assets ($billion) Market Value ($billion) 76 Anheuser-Busch InBev 39.8 7.2 122.6 153.5 323 KBC Group 21.7 0.8 338.7 16.3 424 Ageas 20.6 1 128 8.5 564 Solvay 16.4 0.8 23.4 12.5 883 Dexia 26.6 -16.2 534.9 0.1 887 Belgacom 8.5 0.9 10.7 8.9 957 Banque Nationale de Belgique 2.4 1.2 165.8 1.4 1114 Delhaize Group 29.2 0.1 15.8 5.5 1133 Colruyt 10.5 0.5 4.2 8.2 1341 Umicore 16.6 0.3 4.7 5.9 1375 UCB 4 0.3 11.7 11.7 Top Global Companies of Belgium
  10. 10. Government, Polity and Leadership Parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarch. Under the 1994 constitution, autonomy was granted to the Walloon region (Wallonia), the Flemish region (Flanders), and the bilingual Brussels-Capital region; autonomy was also guaranteed for the Flemish-, French-, and German-speaking “communities.” The central government re- tains responsibility for foreign policy, defense, taxation, and social security. Belgians tend to be liberal thinkers. They legalised euthanasia in 2002, and gay marriage in 2003. A 2007 European Report stated Belgium has the lowest salary gap between men and women in the EU after Malta. Belgium has the highest proportion of female ministers in the world (55% in 2000) and was one of the first to have a female parliamentarian, in 1921. Belgium has compulsory education up to 18 years old. This is one of the highest in the world. Belgians pay some of the highest tax rates in the world, around 40% of their gross earnings. Taxation represents 45.6 % of the country’s GDP. It attracted international attention following the US-led war on Iraq in 2003 because of a controversial law allowing Belgian courts to try foreigners for war and human rights crimes, regardless of where the crimes were committed. The law led to suits against numerous high-profile international figures before undergoing radical revision. It may seem curious that in this very country, a symbol of the European Union, the tendency of division between the two majority ethnic groups is so strong that threatens to lead to the breakup of the country itself. Tensions between the Flemish Dutch speaking population, living in the north of the country and the French-speaking Walloons, living in the south have often affected the country’s political stability. A very significant example is the record number of days that Belgium lacked a government(541 days, between April 2010 and December 2011).
  11. 11. elgium is one of the most developed western European countries, which has played and still plays an important role in the evolution of the European Union. It was one of the founding members of the EU and its capital, Brussels, hosts the headquarters of EU and NATO institutions. Tensions between the two main language communities sometimes run high, and the issue has brought down several governments, creating frequent political instability. Opinion polls suggest most Belgians want to maintain the federation, but separatist parties of- ten score well in Flanders. The "peaceful anarchism" of Brussels architecture may well be the feature that best characterizes Belgium as a whole. During its his- tory of over 2000 years, the region has almost continuously been occupied by foreign powers: from the Romans to the Spanish, the Austrians, the French, the Dutch and the Germans. This has made the Belgians critical of any form of authority, and laws, rules and regulations are not taken very seriously (tax evasion is one of the national sports). This individualistic, anti-authoritarian attitude is perhaps best exemplified by the famous literary figure of Thyl Uilenspiegel, who mocked the Spanish authorities during the 16th cen- tury occupation. Audrey Hepburn (1929-1993) Geopolitical Significance
  12. 12. India-Belgium Relations The diplomatic relations between India and Belgium were established in 1948 and our bilateral relations are cordial and friendly. In recent times, Belgium has acknowledged the growing importance of India’s global role both in political and economic spheres and in this context has emphasized the value of strengthening economic relations between the two countries. Political Relations: High Level Visits: India to Belgium: Shri Pranab Mukherjee, Hon’ble President of India visited Brussels at the invitation of the King of the Belgians (02-05 October 2013). Belgium to India: Recent high-level visits to India include those by Princess Astrid who led the Economic Mission with around 350 CEOs to India in November 2013, accompanied by Mr. Didier Reynders, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and European Affairs. In 2014, Shri Dinkar Khullar, Secretary (West) visited Brussels from 26-27 March 2014 during which he met Mr. Dirk Achten, Secretary General of Belgian Foreign Ministry and discussed bilateral and international issues of mutual interest. Cooperation in multilateral Fora (UNO): Indian and Belgium have been enjoying cordial relationship at the UNO and related matters. Belgium supported India’s candidature to the permanent membership of the UNSC, including for India’s UNSC candidature for the period 2021-22. Belgium also supported India on specific exception at NSG in 2008.
  13. 13. Education: Indian students are amongst the largest beneficiaries of the scholarships and student exchange programmes offered by the European Union (EU) under Erasmus Mundus, Marie Curie and other programmes. As a result nearly around 600-800 Indian students are pursuing various courses in educational institutions of Belgium, including University of Ghent, Leuven, Antwerp and Brussels. Indian Community in Belgium: The Indian Diaspora in Belgium numbers around 18,000 as per estimates from the local Government. Of these, nearly 10,000 are Indian citizens, while others have acquired various nationalities. Around 2,500 NRIs/PIOs are based in Antwerp, mainly from Gujarat, and are in- volved in the diamond trade. Economic and Trade Relations: Belgium is one of India’s important trading partners in the EU. Trade in gems, jewelry, precious stones and metals constitute around 82.9% of bilateral trade (2013). India’s IT & Telecom sector is well represented in Belgium.
  14. 14. Bilateral Trade: Belgium is India’s second largest trading partner in the European Union. During the 2013 (January to December), the bilateral trade declined by 1.15% as a result of global financial situation and stood at € 12.05 billion as compared to € 12.19 billion in 2012 (which is 9% lower when compared to figures of 2011 which stood at € 13.35 billion). The major items of Indian exports to Belgium in 2013 were: gems & jewellery; chemicals & chemical products, base metals & articles, mineral products, textiles etc. The major items of Indian imports from Belgium in 2012 were gems & jewellery, chemicals & chemical products, machinery & mechanical appliances, base metals & articles, plastic products etc. Cultural Cooperation: From 4 October 2013 to 26 January 2014, India was the partner country for the prestigious Europalia-India Cultural Festival. India - Belgium Relations Contd.
  15. 15. Major counter-terrorism raid in Belgium Belgian authorities acted swiftly in a counter-terrorism raid in the town of Verviers, reportedly resulting in the death of 2 – Latest News -2015. Man rides in his bike from Belgium to India. All the major EU (European Union) meetings, summits are held in Brussels, Belgium. 2014: Shri Nitin Jairam Gadkari, Minister of Road Transport, Highways and Shipping, Government of India visited Belgium from 19-20 November 2014. He visited Antwerp Port and had useful meetings with CEO, President and other senior officials of the Port. The other visit is that of Gen (Retd.) V K Singh, MoS for External Affairs. MoS (VK) represented India at the WW I Centenary Commem- oration events organized by the Belgian Government in Nieuwpoort and Ypres on 28 October 2014. During the visit MoS (VK) had a bilateral meeting with Belgian Foreign Minister Mr. Didier Reynders on 27 October. He also had brief in- teractions with the King of Belgians and other visiting dignitaries, including Ms. Angela Merkel, German Chancellor on the side lines of the above events . Recent News from Belgium Hazard Eden, famous Bel- gian Soccer player

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