Good news from Belgium (the economy & business) –
September/October 2009

1. Foreign investments in Belgium
This section...
•   From a minimum stake of 25% in the capital of a company registered in
    the other country a shareholder-company rece...
The Economist mainly hails Vlerick for its great value for money, the wide
range of languages (six in all) and the fact th...
NAÏMA Strategic Legal Services GmbH, a leading international company with
headquarters in Berlin and specialising in litig...
The furniture chain IKEA wants to invest 21 million euro in Belgium next
year. This investment will be used to extend the ...
The world’s leading cosmetics manufacturer L'Oréal has opened a new
biomethanisation plant in Libramont (Luxembourg provin...
Avient currently operates three DC10-30Fs but has embarked on a
programme to modernize its fleet and the DC10-30Fs will be...

Shanghai International Port Group takes stake i...
and Africa. Moreover, at this center research is done on packaging, vending
machines and refrigerators, as well as quality...
with Premier Foods, the United Kingdom’s largest food producer. Under the
terms of this contract, Zetes will provide a tra...

Tractebel Engineering signs contract for site stu...
Electrawinds is a pioneer in renewable energy in Belgium. The green
electricity company has extensive experience in develo...
infrastructure continue to be good too. Belgium scores less well on
government debt, fiscal pressure and the efficiency of...
the Netherlands, decided to increase the maximum departure draft for the
largest container ships (14,000 TEU and more than...

Minister Leterme launches The Global Com...
trustworthy, although trust in friends and family is high in comparison, with
93% of respondents believing they could rely...
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09 0910 Economic Good News from Belgium


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09 0910 Economic Good News from Belgium

  1. 1. Good news from Belgium (the economy & business) – September/October 2009 1. Foreign investments in Belgium This section was prepared in collaboration between the Federal Public Service (FPS) Foreign Affairs and the Liaison Cell Federal- Regions Foreign Investments. The Liaison Cell was created in 1995 as a result of the Cooperation Agreement “Foreign Investments” of 7 February 1995. Its mission is to raise important issues concerning the investment climate in Belgium to policy makers, and create synergies between all the Belgian authorities involved in the attraction of foreign investments. The following authorities are represented in the Cell: FPS Foreign Affairs, FPS Economy, FPS Finance, FIT, AWEX, BEA and the Ministry of the Brussels-Capital Region. Its chair is held by the Regions on a rotating basis and its secretariat is ensured by the FPS Economy. Contact: Secretariat of the Liaison Cell - FPS Economie –- Vooruitgangstraat 50 rue du Progrès - B-1210 Brussels tel : 02/277.67.98 - New tax treaty Belgium - China was signed In 2008, the negotiating team of the Federal Public Service Finance succeeded to finalize the negotiations for a new Belgian-Chinese double tax treaty. On the occasion of the Belgium-China Economic and Trade Forum, from the Chinese side chaired by the Vice-President of the People's Republic, Mr Xi Jinping, the new treaty was signed by the latter on October 7, 2009 in Brussels. For Belgium the treaty was signed by the Minister of Finance, Didier Reynders. If approved by the respective parliaments before the end of this year, it will replace as from January 1, 2010 on, the old treaty in force since 01/01/1988 together with the Additional Protocol of 27/11/1996 (effective since 01/01/2001). The main innovations are: • It will now require full 12 months before a building site or installation activity in the other country will give rise to taxation in that country, previously this was already the case after 6 months which did rise the additional compliance costs much faster; 1
  2. 2. • From a minimum stake of 25% in the capital of a company registered in the other country a shareholder-company receives its dividend by only 5% withholding tax instead of 10% in the other cases; • All claimants, these are both natural and legal persons, on fees paid for the use of a patent or copyright will receive their royalties now with only 7% tax at source and not 10% as before; • With regard to their activities carried out as part of an official program of exchanges in culture between the two States, athletes and artist no longer are entitled to special treatment and fall now back under the general rule that their activities are always taxable in the country where they have supplied their performance. The gold medal of Tia Hellebaut at the Olympic Games in Beijing remains - as before - taxable under Chinese law; • Inclusion in the new treaty of a special clause on the "exchange of bank information on request", similar to the one that was negotiated with the United States and that is now in a general way presented by Belgium – in line with the OECD program on active cooperation - to all the treaty partners. Finally, China is now also recognized as a superpower under the tax treaty and no longer as a developing country by the abolition of the so-called "tax sparing" clause whereby Belgium allowed a reduction of taxes to be paid on the dividends, interests and royalties received by Belgian residents, if this income was derived from investments closely linked to industrial and commercial development projects in China. MBA Vlerick enters The Economist’s top-10 ranking In the 2009 edition of The Economist’s list of the world’s best MBA training programs, the Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School climbs to a top-10 position. Furthermore, alumni of this school are the best paid managers worldwide. The Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School entered The Economist’s list for the first time in 2006, and has been climbing the chart steeply since then. This year’s top-10 position secures Vlerick’s place among the absolute top of international MBA training programs. In the regional ranking for Europe, Vlerick holds the number four spot. 2
  3. 3. The Economist mainly hails Vlerick for its great value for money, the wide range of languages (six in all) and the fact that 100 per cent of alumni have a job within three months of graduating. Another point worth mentioning is that – still according to The Economist – the alumni of the Vlerick program are the best paid MBA graduates in the world. According to the prestigious British magazine, a Vlerick alumnus earns about 140,000 dollars a year. The logistics pole in Liège creates 9,500 jobs in 10 years In 10 years, transport and logistics have brought 9,500 jobs to the Liège region. Since its creation ten years ago, this economic sector has established itself as one of the major contributors to redeployment in Wallonia. The “logistics pole”, comprising transport and warehousing operators in both the public and private sectors, is located for the most part in the Liège region and has built up around the airport at Bierset. For the pole’s chairman, Francis Hambye, the result is positive: “All of the infrastructures have expanded, with a 10% increase in jobs, including 2,500 direct and 7,000 indirect jobs. Our mission has been accomplished.” An example is the increase in air cargo: TNT has announced that it has just signed a major contract to import computers from China into the entire European territory, and that it currently operates twenty round-trip flights per week to the Asian continent. A boost for CAREX The “logistics pole” is also taking part in the CAREX project, to increase TGV freight transport, notably between the regions of Paris and Liège. The French government has just made 350 million euros available to purchase equipment, including rolling stock. les-rails-le-tgv-fret-nouvel-outil-de-developpement-du-transport-et-de-la- logistique-en-region-liegeoise.html © RTL INFO - 09/10/2009 German NAÏMA opens new Brussels office 3
  4. 4. NAÏMA Strategic Legal Services GmbH, a leading international company with headquarters in Berlin and specialising in litigation PR, a field of public relations designed to control and steer communication processes during legal disputes, has now opened offices in Brussels. Besides helping influence positively the course of litigations in criminal and civil law, litigation PR also protects clients from damage to their image and from financial loss. The firm is taking account of the increasing number of legal conflicts at European level. In the future, NAIMA Strategic Legal Services Europe will develop complex and effective legal-media strategies in close collaboration with law firms in Brussels. Above all in cartel law, competition law, environmental law and consumer rights, legal disputes are thereby steered in a direction favorable to the client. Brussels is of increasing importance for companies and organizations. NAÏMA Strategic Legal Services believes that their Litigation-PR strategies can help fill Europe’s communications void, at least in the legal sphere. Belgian nanelectronics research center IMEC to house Kaneka’s European Photovoltaics Lab advancing joint research Kaneka Corporation, the Japanese leading manufacturer of chemical specialties and solar cells, has decided to build its European R&D lab on the IMEC campus in Leuven (Vlaams Brabant province). Kaneka expects cooperation with IMEC’s experts to further improve its current solar cells and develop next-generation cells. This agreement fits in Kaneka’s strategy to examine the expansion of its solar cell manufacturing capacity to 1 Giga Watt by 2015. The decision to establish a European lab was motivated by the need to have a presence, and in future also a production facility, close to the rapidly growing European photovoltaic market. IMEC was chosen as the preferred R&D partner because of its longstanding expertise and excellent track-record in photovoltaics, and because of its unique knowledge and capabilities in materials processing and photonics. For IMEC, cooperation with Kaneka is an important research activity complementary to the silicon photovoltaics industrial affiliation research program running at IMEC. Swedish furniture chain IKEA to invest 21 million euro in Belgium in 2010 4
  5. 5. The furniture chain IKEA wants to invest 21 million euro in Belgium next year. This investment will be used to extend the shop in Zaventem and renovate parts of the branches in Anderlecht and Arlon. IKEA also plans new branches in Mons and Antwerp in the coming years. The chain already has a branch in the Antwerp municipality of Wilrijk, which was recently enlarged, but this is still not enough to take optimum advantage of all the opportunities in the region, according to IKEA. So the company will put up a completely new two-storey complex on the car park of its branch in Wilrijk. In addition to this the Swedish chain is also looking for a second location in the Antwerp region. Swiss company Holcim opens its new concrete plant in Dampremy, near Charleroi The construction of this new plant in Dampremy (Hainaut province) is in line with Holcim’s broad ambition to provide its customers with the highest quality products and services, whilst reducing its environmental footprint. The plant, which uses the cleanest technologies, represents an investment of over 2.5 million euros. It complies with the strictest standards in terms of quality, security and respect for the environment. This plant will be able to produce up to 120 cubic metres of concrete per hour. It has to be said that there’s no shortage in demand. Major construction work in progress or about to start in Charleroi will require huge quantities of concrete. RTLINFO - 13/10/2009 Brussels is definitely … « dans le vent » for French company Windeo Windeo, the French specialist manufacturer and distributor of domestic wind turbines has chosen Brussels as the springboard for its expansion across Europe. The establishment of its marketing HQ here will be followed in early-2010 by the creation of regional-level subsidiaries. L'Oréal opens its first “100% green energy” factory in Belgium 5
  6. 6. The world’s leading cosmetics manufacturer L'Oréal has opened a new biomethanisation plant in Libramont (Luxembourg province), making this Belgian site its first “100% green energy” factory. With this new procedure, the Libramont site, which employs 400 people and produces colour kits and haircare products to be sold in Europe, will now generate 100% of its own electricity requirements and 80% of its heating requirements, according to a L'Oréal press release. The heating requirements not provided by the biomethanisation plant (20%) will be covered by traditional natural gas, but “the excess electricity production, equivalent to the requirements of approximately 4,000 homes, by far offsets the CO2 produced by the consumption of this natural gas,” a L'Oréal spokesperson reassured AFP. The site will therefore be “neutral in terms of carbon emissions.” In practice, the biomethanisation plant, developed by the Belgian companies Eneco and Bio Energie Europa, will use a fermentation process to transform the biomass produced by local farmers and the agri-food industry into methane. L'Oréal has notably made a commitment to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 50% between 2005 and 2015. © L'Echo – 27/10/2009 Avient relocate to Liège as European hub Avient has made the decision to move their European hub to Liège Airport. Avient is a cargo airline based in Harare, Zimbabwe, primarily operating to destinations in Africa, but also to the Middle East and in Asia. In 2008, Avient transported 44,000 tons of fright, with a significant percentage of the total volume being perishable goods such as flowers, food, fish etc … AviaPartner Cargo Liège was chosen as Avient’s handling agent at Liège Airport. The company operates two fully utilized warehouses totaling 12,500 m² and the best possible equipment, providing full perishable capability. In addition to utilizing the expertise of Avia Partner Cargo Liège, Avient has its own offices and staff located at Liège Airport to ensure highest levels of service at all times. The first Avient airplane landed at Liège Airport on September 10. Six weekly flights have been scheduled and charter flights will be organized on demand. 6
  7. 7. Avient currently operates three DC10-30Fs but has embarked on a programme to modernize its fleet and the DC10-30Fs will be replaced by the MD11F. The first MD11F is planned to be in operation in mid November 2009 with additional MD11F aircraft being phased in during 2010. The PD11F offers better fuel efficiency and greater capacity than the DC10-30F. For Liège Airport, these operations represent an increase in traffic of about 50,000 tons per annum and reinforce Liège Airport’s specialization in the field of perishable goods. This sector represents around 25% of total fright transiting through Liège Airport. British company Regus opens business centre in Ghent Regus, the British market leader for flexible work places (offices, meeting rooms and virtual offices worldwide), opened its first business centre in Ghent, in the province of East Flanders, on 29 September 2009 - Regus Gent Zuiderpoort. Regus now has business centres in Ghent, Antwerp, Zaventem, Diegem and Eigenbrakel, as well as 4 in Brussels. Regus Gent Zuiderpoort is located in the municipality of Ledeberg near the junction of the E17 and E40 motorways. The Zuiderpoort neighbourhood is one of the most important business areas in Ghent. This latest opening brings to 50 the number of centres Regus has in the Benelux. German logistics player DPD doubles capacity at Aalter German firm DPD, one of Europe’s leading providers of parcel services, has built a new depot in the city of Aalter (Oost-Vlaanderen province). This new building will replace the existing facility and will double the capacity of the branch. The first phase consisting of new offices and a warehouse of 4,797 square meters is now complete. In 2012, 1,279 square meters of extra warehousing space will be added. The new depot enables DPD to handle 11,000 packages per hour. After the second phase in 2012, this capacity will rise to 14,000 packages an hour, thus doubling the capacity of the old depot. Currently, 50 DPD trucks deliver the packages in East and West-Flanders. Next year, this number will rise to 60 and in 2012 DPD expects to have 110 trucks in service. 7
  8. 8. Shanghai International Port Group takes stake in Zeebrugge terminal operator Shanghai International Port Group wants to take a 40% stake in the Zeebrugge terminal operator APM Terminals Zeebrugge. The project is said to involve a sum of € 40 million. Shanghai Ports would like to conclude the file by the end of the year. The agreement could be extremely important for the Port of Zeebrugge, which may significantly increase its position in traffic between Europe and Asia. New container line between Ghent and Mediterranean Sea The Finnish shipping line Containerships is launching a new container link between the port of Ghent, in the province of East Flanders, and a series of destinations round the Mediterranean Sea. In a first phase Containerships will deploy three ships on the connection. There will be a weekly service between Ghent and the Greek port city, Piraeus. Ships will call in, en route, at the Turkish ports of Istanbul and Izmir, as well as Tunis in Tunisia and Salerno in Italy. Turkey is an important partner for the port of Ghent; exports to Turkey constitute 14% of the Port of Ghent’s total export volume. Steel products from the ArcelorMittal factory in Zelzate count for a significant part of this. Coca-Cola invests € 11.6 million in its innovation center in Belgium Beverage concern The Coca-Cola Company has invested € 11.6 million in its Brussels headquarters (Anderlecht), in particular in the expansion of the innovation center. The investment will increase the existing capacity and offer new possibilities for additional innovative projects. In order to develop new beverages, The Coca Cola Company has a certain number of innovation centers at its disposal throughout the world. The second largest of those innovation centers is located in Anderlecht. It develops more than 500 products annually, for 108 countries in Europe, Asia 8
  9. 9. and Africa. Moreover, at this center research is done on packaging, vending machines and refrigerators, as well as quality control. At this moment, a small scale bottling facility is also being built in Anderlecht, which will produce 250,000 beverages for consumer tests. The investment includes a new state-of-the-art filling line offering new possibilities for innovation and production of still beverages. Special attention is being paid to the new facilities’ impact on the environment. “An innovation lab” has also been established where Coca Cola develops common projects together with its customers, from packaging ideas to new refrigerators. Thanks to all these initiatives Coca-Cola has at its disposal in Anderlecht a unique knowledge center that further reinforces their innovation opportunities for the future. 2. Contracts abroad for Belgian companies Important contract for Tractebel in India Tractebel Engineering, one of Europe's largest engineering consultancies, offers a wide range of engineering services for the energy sector, the industry, the tertiary sector, as well as for communities and national or international organizations. Tractebel Engineering has signed an important contract in India. Indian Gas Limited has entrusted a consortium including Tractebel Engineering and other Belgian companies, such as G-Tec, FITA and Logistics in Wallonia, with the study of a master plan for the development of the port of Manappad, at the far south of India. It involves gathering the basic information, drawing up the traffic and capacity forecasts, determining the works schedule and the phases of the project and lastly designing the infrastructure plans of the port and the terminal. The new port should be operational in 2012. Zetes wins UK contract Zetes, the international leader in the solutions and services industry for automatic identification of goods and people, has won a significant contract 9
  10. 10. with Premier Foods, the United Kingdom’s largest food producer. Under the terms of this contract, Zetes will provide a traceability solution to improve the manufacturing and distribution processes of the company’s Hovis Division, which produces 2 million loaves of bread every day. Subject to the success of the initial pilot phase, Hovis will consider a full roll out of the traceability solution to all 23 of its UK sites during 2010. Dredging company DEME builds port in India Dhamra was a small fishing port in the state of Orissa, on the Gulf of Bengal. Thanks to, amongst others, Dredging International, which is part of DEME (Dredging, Environmental and Marine Engineering Group), from Zwijndrecht in the province of Antwerp, a new port will open there on 1 March 2010. Dredgers are deepening the 19 km long access channel to Dhamra. The clay that is scooped up is dumped in the sea further up. Then pure sand is dredged up thirty kilometres away and used to raise the 130 hectares of land where the port terminal will be. In the meantime work is in full swing to build the infrastructure for the terminal – jetties, transfer stations, railways, cranes, conveyor belts, etc. When the terminal is ready it will be able to handle 21.4 million tons of coal and ore a year. And that is just the first phase. U.S. Air Force Selects Agfa HealthCare’s IMPAX Data Center to support worldwide Patient Medical Record needs Agfa HealthCare, a leading provider of diagnostic imaging and healthcare IT solutions from Mortsel (Antwerp province), announced that the U.S. Air Force (USAF) has selected Agfa HealthCare’s IMPAX Data Center to manage and share clinical information and images across all of the USAF’s medical facilities in the United States, supporting USAF's integrated global healthcare delivery system. IMPAX Data Center will be installed at David Grant Medical Center at Travis Air Force Base (AFB), California and at the 375th Medical Group at Scott AFB, Illinois. IMPAX Data Center integrates with existing picture archiving and communication systems (PACS) in multiple clinical departments and facilities, allowing the USAF to visualize, or image-enable, its electronic health record (EHR) and consolidating clinical patient data into a single archive, accessible from the point of care. 10
  11. 11. sp Tractebel Engineering signs contract for site study with a view to construction of first nuclear power plant in Jordan The Jordan Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC) has awarded a site study contract for Jordan’s first nuclear power plant to Tractebel Engineering. Tractebel Engineering will investigate the preliminary site near Aqaba, which was identified by JAEC and a technical national committee. The studies will cover public health, safety, and security issues, in addition to conducting specialized surveys to assess geological stability, geo-physics, soil characteristics, water proximity and cooling water requirements, risk assessment, electricity grid connectivity, environmental and health impact, and natural and human induced events. The coalition led by Tractebel Engineering and composed of 2 other companies: Jordan's Arab Consultants Bureau and France's Bureau Veritas, was chosen from 6 international companies which competed for the site study contract. n Ion Beam Applications and the Israeli group Aposense sign strategic collaboration agreement Ion Beam Applications from Louvain-la-Neuve is primarily active in the medical industry. It develops and sells state-of-the-art equipment and radiopharmaceuticals for cancer diagnosis and treatment. IBA has signed a strategic collaboration agreement with the Israeli group Aposense to commercialize APOSENSE® ML-10, Aposense’s novel agent for molecular imaging of apoptosis (programmed cell death). APOSENSE ® ML-10 is a small molecule radiotracer which allows the imaging of apoptosis, a fundamental biological process of controlled cell death, from the early stages of the death process. The agreement includes the collaboration and joint-funding by IBA and Aposense of Phase III and subsequent clinical development of APOSENSE ® ML-10. Phase II clinical trials are already underway. Belgian green electricity company Electrawinds quality seal in Bulgaria 11
  12. 12. Electrawinds is a pioneer in renewable energy in Belgium. The green electricity company has extensive experience in developing, building and exploiting wind farms. Electrawinds also has several biomass installations in Belgium (biofuel and biosteam) and a solar department. In Bulgaria, the Belgian company is developing several wind farms in and around the city of Bourgas. At the moment, wind measurements are being carried out there and the connection to the Bulgarian net is being examined. This autumn will see construction of ten wind turbines start up in Shabla at the Black Sea, a project of 13.9 million euro. On October 15, 2009, Electrawinds was awarded the First Class Investor certificate in Bulgaria. This quality seal is awarded by the Invest Bulgaria Agency and is supervised by the Bulgarian Ministry of Economics and Energy. It is given to foreign companies that develop new, high quality projects in Bulgaria. Tractebel Engineering signs contract with Saudi Arabia Tractebel Engineering has signed a contract worth € 5 million with the Saudi Electricity Company. The 3 year contract involves the provision of engineering services with a view to improving transmission systems through the Saudi Kingdom. 3. General economic information about Belgium Belgium moves up a place in the World Economic Forum’s ranking of most competitive countries Belgium has risen from 19th to 18th place in the ranking of most competitive countries in the world, which is drawn up by the World Economic Forum (WEF) every year. This ranking, which includes 133 countries, is based on a poll of a good 12,600 company leaders combined with objective data that measures countries’ competitive strength. Belgium has gone up a place for the second year in a row. Last year it was in 19th place and two editions ago it was in 20th place. For healthcare and primary education Belgium is in third place worldwide. The position of higher education and training, and the efficiency of the goods market and 12
  13. 13. infrastructure continue to be good too. Belgium scores less well on government debt, fiscal pressure and the efficiency of the labour market. 42 % growth for Charleroi Airport Brussels South Charleroi Airport welcomed 1.16 million passengers in June, July and August 2009, which is an increase of 42 % compared to the same period in 2008. Belgium in top twenty for information technology According to a study by the Business Software Alliance (BSA), Belgium comes 18th, in 2009, in a world ranking of countries’ competitive strength in terms of information technology. Belgium scored 59.2%, compared to 53.4% last year, which put it in 22nd place. Belgium comes out strongest for its legal environment, where it is in 3rd place. Belgium also scored higher than last year for support to the information industry and the innovative environment. Antwerp Company makes diamonds sparkle twice as brightly The Antwerp company 3D Diamonds, has developed a new cutting technique that produces a fantastic double sparkle in diamonds. A diamond cut using this technique is facetted not only on the top but also on the underside, which makes it sparkle on both sides. The new cutting technique, nicknamed “Antwerp Twins”, can be used on every existing model of diamond, from round to pear, oval or marquise etc. That is what makes this cutting technique so revolutionary. The very first “Antwerp Twin” was shown to the public at the Hong Kong Jewellery and Watch Fair in September. Antwerp can accommodate biggest container ships On 23 September 2009 the Permanent Commission for Supervision of Scheldt Navigation, which is made up of representatives from Belgium and 13
  14. 14. the Netherlands, decided to increase the maximum departure draft for the largest container ships (14,000 TEU and more than 360 metres in length) to 14 metres. Sailing schedules will also be extended. A third and last nautical/technical evaluation is planned for the end of November. If the evaluation is positive the Permanent Commission will bring out a new version of the arrival/departure regulations for Antwerp. This is a very important decision commercially because shipping companies keep deploying ever more enormous container ships. Moreover this is a confirmation of Antwerp’s accessibility. Combined with the location of its port, deep inland, Antwerp offers direct, high-speed and environment- friendly access to the economic heart of Europe. Brussels, top 5 business city in Europe In the 2009 European Cities Monitor report published by international real estate consultant Cushman & Wakefield, Brussels ranks 5th in the list of most attractive business locations in Europe. The Belgian capital gets best results for languages spoken, the availability of qualified staff and good access to markets, consumers and customers. The list is based on interviews with executives in charge of location for 500 of Europe's largest companies. repId=c27300017p&LanId=EN&LocId=GLOBAL# Belgium 13th position on list of financially most developed countries Belgium ranks 13th in the annual list of financially most developed countries in the world, issued by the World Economic Forum in its Financial Development Report 2009. The Financial Development Index Ranking is based on 7 criteria. With 4.50 points out of 7, Belgium managed to climb four positions compared to last year. Belgium does very well as far as access to financial services is concerned. It ranks 4th among 55 countries. Belgium’s biggest assets are the high density of bank offices network, the high penetration of bank accounts among the population and the wide availability of cash machines. Belgium does less well for financial stability. This is due to the frequency of bank crises and the country’s high indebtedness rate. 14
  15. 15. x.htm Minister Leterme launches The Global Compact Network Belgium On 15 October 2009 Foreign Minister Yves Leterme opened a seminar on "socially responsible enterprise and the Global Compact network" which marked the official launch of the Global Compact Network Belgium. The Global Compact network is a UN programme designed to incite companies to do business in a more socially responsible and sustainable manner. Companies signing up to the programme will undertake to ensure greater transparency in their corporate activities with respect to human rights, social standards, anti-corruption measures and the environment. The UN Global Compact Network numbers more than 6,700 organisations worldwide, including 5,200 companies in 130 countries. Participation is voluntary, but the companies in question have to submit regular reports on how UN principles are being applied in their activities. Until today, Belgium had no official Global Compact network. The newly established Belgian network will enable companies in Belgium to become involved in the global network, inter alia, by attending appropriate training programmes. The Federal Public Service Foreign Affairs will act as point of contact for the network. Belgium 13th in the 2009 Legatum Prosperity Index Belgium ranks 13th in the “Prosperity Index” which is established by the Legatum Institute, an independent research centre in the United Kingdom. The “Prosperity Index” ranks 104 countries and is based on years of statistical analysis and research of objective data and subjective responses to surveys. The data comprises 79 different variables organized into nine sub indexes. Belgium ranks very highly for “Economic Fundamentals” (4th place), “Democratic Institutions” (3rd place), “Education” (11th place), “Health” (5th place) and “Personal Freedom” (9th place). It ranks lower for “Entrepreneurship and innovation” (20th place), mainly because of its relatively limited ICT and high tech exports, as well as for “Social capital” (26th place). Only 31% of Belgians believe that people are intrinsically 15
  16. 16. trustworthy, although trust in friends and family is high in comparison, with 93% of respondents believing they could rely on this group. 16