Germany and Belgium: Bilateral relations
Belgium and Germany share important joint interests and work closely and well together. As founding members of the EU, they have forged close ties through decades of joint efforts to build and deepen the Union and their shared views on its future course and approaches to current challenges. Belgium also shares security interests with the EU. Belgium and Germany liaise closely on international and economic issues, including in the Council of the European Union.
Germany is the most important partner country for Belgium’s export sector, while Belgium is Germany’s ninth largest trading partner. In 2020, the trade volume between Germany and Belgium totalled approximately 101.9 billion euro. Belgium has a slight trade deficit with Germany (Federal Statistical Office Destatis). Antwerp is a major port for Germany, particularly for Land North Rhine-Westphalia, for both imports and exports. Germany’s main investments in Belgium are in the chemical industry in Antwerp, car manufacturing in Brussels and aviation, as well as increasingly in the pharmaceutical and biotech industry. A large number of German companies have a branch in Belgium.
Germany’s cultural relations policy in Belgium focuses on promoting the German language in schools and universities, awarding scholarships, and running exchange programmes and travel and award schemes, often in cooperation with the Goethe-Institut in Brussels. As the language spoken by the German minority in east Belgium, German is the country’s third official language. A series of Germany Year programmes organised by universities in recent years has presented a modern image of Germany. Furthermore, commemoration of the two world wars continues to be an important part of our bilateral relations today.