Belgium has beaten its record of investment in research and development in 2012, spending 2.24 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP), said the Secretary of State for science policy Philippe Courard on Tuesday. This represented 8.4 billion euros and nearly 95,000 jobs. Private companies were responsible for 68 percent of investment in research and development. Investment in research and development was growing in Belgium for ten years, while its neighbors, with the exception of Germany, were mostly in a less favorable situation, said Courard. Investment in research and development in Belgium was higher than the EU average of 2.06 percent, while Europe is asking its member states to allocate at least 3 of GDP in this area, a threshold that Belgium hopes to achieve by 2020. Across Europe, credits for research is reduced amid austerity, asid Courard, however, "it is a bad idea, because in a country like ours, without natural resources, research and development are real deposits of employment," he said.