Covering some 30,000 km², Belgium is not a big country but through its history and its geographic location it has always held an important place in the world, aware that without bridges to others, it would be unrealistic to want to build a fairer and more prosperous world.
For Belgium, effective action on crucial issues such as peace and security, human rights and the promotion of the rule of law, can only be carried out in a multilateral context. Belgium is therefore a founding Member State of many of the great international institutions such as the United Nations (UN), the European Union (EU), the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and the Council of Europe.
Belgium makes a significant contribution to the work of these institutions, while Brussels is home to the headquarters of several of them and many Belgian politicians have assumed important responsibilities while heading up such organisations.
Based on the open and pragmatic Belgian character, Belgian foreign policy covers universal values, focused on democracy, dialogue and regional integration between countries that may have been in conflict. So as human rights improve and poverty declines and a country opens up to a democratic process, if the economy picks up, development cooperation and economic action can be complementary!