The Kingdom of Belgium lies in north-western Europe, bounded to the north by the Netherlands, to the east by Luxembourg and Germany, to the south by France, and to the west by the North Sea.
There are five levels of government in Belgium. Of these only the federal level, the regions and the communities have legislative powers. The other two layers, the provinces and the municipalities (communes) are subordinate authorities, subject to oversight and without legislative powers.
The three regions and three linguistic communities are represented by the following directly elected legislative administrations: a combined administration for Flanders and the Flemish-speaking community, regional administrations for Wallonia and Brussels, and separate administrations for French- and German-speakers. The regional administrations have sole responsibility for the environment, housing, transport and public works, while the language community administrations supervise education policy and culture. Under a constitutional amendment approved by the Chamber of Representatives in June 2001, the regions were also granted greater autonomy over taxation and public expenditure, agriculture, and policies regarding foreign aid and trade. In April 2002 a further set of reforms was agreed in principle. It was proposed that the Senate would become the assembly of the regions and communities and the Chamber of Representatives the sole federal representative body.
The two federal regions are subdivided into 5 provinces each, the Brussels-Capital Region is neither a province nor is it part of one. The regions are further subdivided into 43 administrative districts, judicial and electoral arrondissements, which may or may not relate to identical geographical areas. At the lowest administrative level the gemeenten/ communes (municipalities) continues to exist, but their number has been drastically reduced since 1977.
For electoral purposes the electoral units at present are the provinces, except for the arrondissements Brussels-Capital (geographically coinciding with the Brussels-Capital Region) and Halle-Vilvoorde (one of the two districts in the province Flemish Brabant in the Flemish region), which together still form the electoral circle Brussels-Halle-Vilvoorde. For the elections of the Walloon Parliament, 13 arrondissements (or grouped arrondissements) are still being used as electoral circles.
Belgium has 3 NUTS 1 units, 11 NUTS 2 units and 43 NUTS 3 units. The NUTS 1 units correspond to the two regions plus Brussels while the NUTS 2 units correspond to the provinces plus Brussels. The NUTS 3 units correspond to the arrondissements.
|Code||Country||NUTS 1||NUTS 2||NUTS 3|
|BE1||RÉGION DE BRUXELLES-CAPITALE / BRUSSELS HOOFDSTEDELIJK GEWEST|
|BE10||Région de Bruxelles-Capitale / Brussels Hoofdstedelijk Gewest|
|BE100||Arr. de Bruxelles-Capitale / Arr. van Brussel-Hoofdstad|
|BE22||Prov. Limburg (B)|
|BE31||Prov. Brabant Wallon|
|BE34||Prov. Luxembourg (B)|
Quick, Michael (1994). Regional Territorial Units in Western Europe since 1945. Mannheimer Zentrum für Europäische Sozialforschung (MZES). EURODATA/ Nr. 5 1994
Fitzmaurice, J. (1996). The Politics of Belgium: A Unique Federalism. London: Hurst & Company.