Skip to main content
European Commission logo
EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Political and economic situation

Belgium - German-Speaking Community

1.Political, social and economic background and trends

1.4Political and economic situation

Last update: 27 November 2023

Political situation in Belgium

The Belgian electoral system is based on the principle of proportional representation (proportional representation). It ensures a very stable representation of the people and usually leads to the formation of multi-party governments representing two or three political currents.

Traditionally, there are five major political tendencies in Belgium's political power play: the socialist, the Christian-democratic, the liberal and the ecological, a fifth group of parties formed with the division of the country into linguistic and cultural communities in the sixties and seventies of the last century with language-political or regional goals, such as the French-speaking party DEFI (démocrate, fédéraliste, indépendant) with a political focus in Brussels, the Flemish party NVA (Nieuwe Vlaamse Alliantie) or the ProDG movement, which demands the greatest possible autonomy for the German-speaking world in the German-speaking community.  Each of these political directions is represented by independent French-speaking, Dutch-speaking and German-speaking parties; each of them has its own party structures.

- The socialist or social democratic parties are the Parti Socialiste (PS), the sociaal progressief alternatief (sp.a.) and the Sozialistische Partei (SP) in the German-speaking community.

- The Christian Democratic parties are the Centre démocrate et humaniste (Cdh), the Christen-Democratisch & Vlaams (CD&V) and the Christlich Soziale Partei (CSP) in the German-speaking Community.

- The liberal parties are the Mouvement Réformateur (MR), the Open Vld, and the Party for Freedom and Progress (PFF) in the German-speaking Community, which has joined the Mouvement Réformateur (MR) movement.

- The ecological parties are Ecolo in the French Community and the German-speaking Community and Groen in the Flemish Community.

- In addition to the four large party families, the above-mentioned regional and language parties avert the diverse spectrum of political currents in Belgium.

Political situation in the German-speaking Community

Most of these political currents can be found in the German-speaking Community. There is the Christian Social Party (CSP), the Party for Freedom and Progress (PFF), the Socialist Party (SP), the ecologically oriented party (Ecolo). Furthermore, the autonomous movement ProDG is active in the German-speaking community, as is the civic movement VIVANT.

The distribution of seats for the 2019-2024 legislative period is as follows: CSP (6), ProDG (6), SP (4), PFF (4), Ecolo (3), Vivant (3). Currently, the Minister of Education is a member of the ProDG movement.

A central goal of education policy is to strengthen equal opportunities. It must be borne in mind that every child and every young person is unique with his or her dispositions and development prospects. The educational and social system should be designed in such a way that no child or adolescent is neglected, but each is promoted individually and in the best possible way. In this way, all pupils and trainees are to be helped to find a place in society and to cope with their lives on their own.

Economic situation

The share of economic sectors in gross value added provides information on the economic structure of a region. A comparison of the economic structure of the German-speaking Community with that of Wallonia and Belgium as a whole shows that manufacturing accounts for a relatively high share (21.7%) of gross value added (Wallonia and Belgium each account for 14.4%). At 423.2 million euro, manufacturing is also the sector with the highest gross value added in the German-speaking Community. The manufacture of electrical equipment, rubber and plastics, metalworking and food are particularly important in this sector. The second and third most important economic activities are trade and repair and real estate. On the other hand, the tertiary sector is relatively less important in the German-speaking Community.

On 30 June 2017, 22,685 employees (including civil servants) subject to social insurance contributions worked in the German-speaking Community, spread over 2,226 company seats. On 31 December 2017, the German-speaking Community also had 6,475 self-employed and freelancers.

However, due to the border situation between three borders (Germany, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and the French-speaking part of Belgium), commuter movements play a role for the German-speaking community that should not be underestimated. More than 25% of employees are commuters to the German-speaking Community.

Abroad: The number of people employed in Luxembourg in particular is increasing from year to year: in 2018, 4,220 inhabitants of the German-speaking area were employed in Luxembourg (2005: 2,550; 2010: 3,194). Commuters to the German-speaking Community mainly come from inland Belgium and increasingly also from Germany.

According to this concept, the German-speaking Community achieved a result of 77,181 euros per employee in 2017. This is higher than the GDP per inhabitant, but still well below the national average of 92,939 euros.


When comparing the economic strength of different regions, GDP per inhabitant is often used as the unit of measurement. In regions with a high proportion of commuters, however, this indicator gives a distorted picture, as the GDP generated in the region is only divided by the number of inhabitants (although the commuters also generated it) and the value added generated abroad by the commuters is taken into account. In the case of the German-speaking community, the GDP per inhabitant is comparatively low, since the German-speaking community has a high proportion of commuters.

A more realistic picture of value added in an area can therefore be obtained by dividing GDP by the number of local employees (whether residents or commuters). According to this concept, the German-speaking Community2010 achieves a result of 66 049 € per employee. This is higher than GDP per inhabitant, but still well below the national average of €78,903.