Overall, initiatives were undertaken to stabilise the defence budget and military pensions in the short term; in fact, through significant measures, Belgium expected to decrease its defence expenses to about 0.81% of GDP by 2019. However, under current and future challenges (i.e. high risk of terrorist attacks, migration crisis, cybersecurity incidents, etc.), Brussels should strengthen their efforts, in order to achieve their 2030 Defence plan goals.

Belgium extends in a small area of 30,528km2, in the west of Europe. It lies between the Netherlands (bordering to the north), France (to the west and south), Germany and Luxembourg to the east, while is also wet to the northwest by the North Sea.

Comprising of the three regions of Flanders, Wallonia and the Brussels-capital region, the country has as official languages Dutch, French and the least prevalent German. The Belgian population is estimated (2016) at some 11.3 million people, with the majority located in the densely populated north, Flemish region of the country.
Despite its small size, Belgium has turned into an economic and urban centre of Europe. Brussels, named as the “Capital of Europe”, hosts the headquarters of all the main EU institutions, as well as other international organisations, including NATO –to which Belgium was one of the funding members in 1949. The City of Brussels has a population of some 176,000 (2016), with the wider Brussels-capital region having a registered population of some 1.188 million people (2016 -consisting of a multicultural environment of Germanic, Latin and Anglo-Saxon influences-, while it is home to some 54,000 businesses. Consequently, it has rightfully conquered its place as a significant player in the economic and business world, both in Europe and worldwide.

Today, Belgians enjoy a relatively high standard of living; average earnings are higher than the average in the OECD area, while regional inequalities in income are relatively small.  Moreover, Belgium demonstrates an exceptional higher education system, renowned for on-the-job training and the emphasis given to maths and scientific fields, as well as in business aspects. However, for the vulnerable groups, including immigrants, big challenges remain, including labour market integration, as well as access to affordable houses.