Natural resources, energy and environment
The only raw materials naturally found in Belgium are coal, sand and clay. The coal mines in Wallonia are now closed down; the last closed in 1992. For its energy supply, the country is dependent on imports of mainly oil. Electricity comes largely from nuclear power.
For a few years, natural gas was extracted in Belgium, but the assets were small and operations ceased in 1996. Now gas as well as oil are purchased from abroad. Belgium is about 80 percent dependent on imports for its total energy supply. Half of the energy consumption is made up of oil and almost a quarter of natural gas. The use of coal has fallen to less than ten percent. Renewable energy sources account for just under a tenth. The energy market was liberalized during the first decade of the 21st century.
- COUNTRYAAH: Major exports by Belgium with a full list of the top products exported by the country. Includes trade value in U.S. dollars and the percentage for each product category.
Half of the electricity is generated by seven reactors in two different nuclear power plants: Doel and Tihange. A decision was made in 2003 that nuclear power would be decommissioned between 2022 and 2025. But this has been questioned because of the need to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels. According to a later decision, decommissioning according to the plan assumes that electricity supply has been secured and that electricity prices do not rise too much. In 2015, the government decided to extend the life of two reactors that would have been shut down in the same year, to save jobs and secure the transition to cleaner energy. The extension has attracted criticism in neighboring countries, not least as there have been several incidents of leaks, cracks and even sabotage.
- Abbreviationfinder: A popular acronym site in the world covering abbreviation for each country. For example, BE stands for Belgium. Visit itypeusa for more information about Belgium.
Fossil fuels are used for most of the remaining electricity.
FACTS – ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT
Energy use per person
4,698 kilos of oil equivalent (2015)
Electricity consumption per person
7694 kWh, kWh (2014)
Carbon dioxide emissions in total
93 351 thousand tonnes (2014)
Carbon dioxide emissions per inhabitant
8.3 tonnes (2014)
The share of energy from renewable sources
9.2 percent (2015)
Belgian court concludes case of Catalan leader
A Belgian court announces that the process of extradition of deposed Catalan president Carles Puigdemont and four more members of his government are formally closed down. The message comes after Spain’s Supreme Court has withdrawn a European arrest warrant for Catalan politicians. They fled to Belgium at the end of October after the Catalan parliament declared Catalonia independent after an illegal referendum (see October).
Mass demonstrations in Brussels for Catalan independence
About 45,000 Catalans demonstrate in Brussels in support of Catalonia’s independence and the deposed regional president Carles Puigdemont.
Belgian prosecutors recommend extradition of Catalan politicians
Prosecutors in Belgium recommend that Carles Puigdemont and three other Catalan politicians be extradited to Spain. The four Catalan politicians surrendered to the Belgian police in early November. The Belgian investigating judge decided that they should not be detained, but that they were not allowed to leave the country. The next step in the process is expected in early December, when the judges will hear the four Catalans.
Catalan leader seeks refuge in Brussels
Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont and some former government members are in Brussels to meet leaders of Flemish nationalist parties. The Spanish government dismissed Carles Puigdemont as Catalan president and dissolved the Catalan parliament on October 27. It is speculated whether Puigdemont intends to seek political asylum in Belgium, something he himself denies.
Minister of Economy warns of Brexit consequences
Economy Minister Kris Peeters believes that the consequences for Britain leaving the EU without a settlement on trade and customs issues will be disastrous, not least for Belgium. Over 40,000 jobs would disappear, with serious consequences for the port of Zeebrygge, where almost half of the business is cargo to and from the UK.
Imam is expelled
An Egyptian imam employed at a mosque near the EU headquarters in Brussels should be expelled because he is considered “a security threat”. According to the Belgian authorities, they have received signals that the man, who has had a residence permit in Belgium for 13 years, has extreme opinions. The same mosque was named after the bomb attacks in March 2016 for being a rallying point for radical Islamists.
Trouble with the Netherlands about egg scandal
The scandal surrounding eggs containing traces of the toxic insecticide fipronil is growing, leading to tensions between the Netherlands and Belgium. A Dutch company is said to have used the poison to fight lice in a large number of chicken herds. Hundreds of poultry farms have been closed in Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and France and sales of several million eggs have been stopped in northern Europe. The Belgian Food Safety Authority is criticized for not responding quickly enough when it was told in early June that eggs from Dutch producers could contain a toxic pesticide. Not until July 20 did Belgium pass on the information to European neighboring countries.
Suspected terrorist acts averted
Soldiers shoot to death a man since he unleashed an explosive charge at the Central Station in Brussels. No one else is hurt. The man is later identified as a 36-year-old of Moroccan origin, a resident of the Molenbeek district.