Belgium Country Report
Belgium is governed by a coalition of four parties, representing the country's major linguistic regions. This pragmatic political alliance under the leadership of liberal Prime Minister Charles Michel is currently experiencing heightened levels of instability as a result of an intra-government dispute over a migration case that prompted the leader of the right-wing New Flemish Alliance to warn that his party may leave the government. Belgium faces a high risk of mainly low-capability terrorist attacks by radicalised lone actors who sympathise with non-state armed groups such as the Islamic State. Threats are also posed by small militant Islamist cells with links to other countries. These are likely to be formed in isolated communities such as the Brussels neighbourhood ofMolenbeek.
Belgium's operational environment is generally attractive for international businesses. The country's regulatory framework is stable and closely intertwined with European Union laws. Belgium is located between the EU's political powerhouses, France and Germany; has access to the EU's single market; and forms part of the Benelux union, providing well-established economic and political ties with neighbouring Luxembourg and the Netherlands. Belgium has a high-quality communications and infrastructure network and a broad array of transport links with other European countries. However, excessive red tape and strong trade unions are likely to slow down business operations.
Belgium faces a high risk of mostly low-capability terrorist attacks by self-radicalised Islamists acting alone or in small groups using firearms, knives, or crude IEDs and targeting public spaces, state or security force personnel, or Jewish assets. There is also a risk of further co-ordinated mass-casualty assaults such as the March 2016 Brussels attacks. These would likely require the participation of well-trained returning foreign fighters to succeed. There is a substantial presence of radicalised individuals in several largely isolated Muslim communities.
The risk of inter-state war on Belgian territory is likely to remain minimal. The country is an active member of NATO and the European Union and does not face any hostilities from neighbouring countries. Although the Belgian army participates in multilateral international military operations, the government usually focuses on soft diplomacy in external relations. However, Belgium supports the US-led international military alliance against the Islamic State, so the threat of retaliatory terrorist attacks in Belgium (as opposed to traditional warfare) has steadily increased since 2014.
Occasional anti-austerity and anti-government protests are possible in Antwerp, Brussels, and Liege. Although the majority of protests will be peaceful, there is a low risk of violent groups attacking police with blunt weapons or thrown objects. Repeated demonstrations in the centre of Brussels and especially near European Union assets (for example, the Berlaymont building) by interest groups affected by EU decisions are also common. These protests occasionally lead to minor confrontations with police. Anti-immigration protests organised by the right-wing PEGIDA movement are increasingly likely, particularly in Antwerp and other parts of the Flanders region in northern Belgium.
Vaccinations required to enter the country
No vaccinations are required to enter the country.
Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.
Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).
Tick-Borne Encephalitis: For stays in rural zones and for hiking enthusiasts (for children over the age of one).
For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.
The quality of public transportation is generally high. However, transportation strikes are relatively common in Belgium and can occur with little notice.
Belgium has a temperate oceanic climate and rain is common throughout the year. Summers (June to September) are mild and winters are cool, even cold.
Voltage: 230 V ~ 50 Hz