At a glance
Belgium has been a member of the euro area since 1 January 1999. Euro banknotes and coins were introduced in Belgium on 1 January 2002. Until that date the euro was the official currency but only existed as 'book money'. The euro replaced the Belgian franc (BEF) at the conversion rate of EUR 1 = BEF 40.3399.
Belgium is represented by Elio Di Rupo, Prime Minister, at Euro Summit meetings and by its Minister for Finance, Koen Geens, at Eurogroup meetings.
- Adoption of the euro: 01/01/1999
- Former currency: Belgian Franc (EUR 1 = BEF 40.3399 )
- GDP per capita (current prices): €33 500 (2011 - Eurostat)
- Number of votes at the Council of the EU: 12
- Member of the Schengen area: Yes
- Official languages: French (fr), Dutch (nl), German (de)
Belgium is a constitutional monarchy and a federal state.
It has a bicameral parliamentary system. The Parliament is made up of the House of Representatives (150 members) and the Senate (71 senators, of whom 40 are directly elected, 21 are appointed by the Community parliaments and 10 are co-opted).
Members of the House of Representatives and senators are elected by direct universal suffrage for four years.
The upper tier is made up of the federal state, the communities and the regions. They act on an equal footing, but each in their own areas of competence.
The middle tier is made up of the provinces, with the municipalities forming the base.
- Political system: constitutional monarchy
- Voting age: 18, voting compulsory
- National day: 21 July, the date on which King Leopold I was sworn in (1830)