Following four years of strong growth, during the second half of 2008, the Belgian economy entered a deep recession as a result of the international economic crisis. Belgium was the first country in Europe to be hit by the global banking crisis (September 2008). The economy, which relies heavily on trade for support, was deeply affected by the drop in global trade as well as the decline in domestic demand. The government acted swiftly to boost confidence in the financial sector in hopes of curtailing the effects of the recession. Economic stimulus packages and monetary easing from the European Central Bank has helped support economic activity. The Belgian recovery plan in December 2008 (€2 billion) focused on maintaining workers in employment and improving the financial health of firms. The persistence of high unemployment, despite greater job creation, suggests that labor market reform will continue to be high on its policy agenda. The government has also focused its national reform program on key priorities intended to achieve long-term sustainable growth prospects, such as reducing taxation wages in order to increase purchasing power, creating more efficient measures for the labor market, consolidating the budget, securing the future of the welfare system and protecting the environment. It is expected that the government will continue to pursue economic reforms in the years ahead. Belgium is officially out of the recession as of the second quarter of 2010 (second consecutive quarter of positive GDP growth) Supported by the global economic recovery and by a gradual strengthening of domestic demand, economic activity is Belgium since 2009 has kept up a slightly stronger pace of expansion than originally forecast. We now expect average real GDP growth to reach 2.1 percent in 2010 and 1.8 percent in 2011.
Belgium annual per capita GDP in 2009 was $36,800 and in 2010 $ 39,700 (estimated).
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