Andorra


Andorra
Andorran, adj., n.
/an dawr"euh, -dor"euh/; Sp. /ahn dawrdd"rddah/, n.
1. a republic in the E Pyrenees between France and Spain, under the joint suzerainty of France and the Spanish Bishop of Urgel. 74,839; 191 sq. mi. (495 sq. km).
2. Also called Andorra la Vella Catalan. /ahn dawrdd"rddah lah ve"lyah/. a city in and the capital of this republic. 7926. French, Andorre /ahonn dawrdd"/.

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Andorra

Introduction Andorra
Background: Long isolated and impoverished, mountainous Andorra has achieved considerable prosperity since World War II through its tourist industry. Many immigrants (legal and illegal) are attracted to the thriving economy with its lack of income taxes. Geography Andorra -
Location: Southwestern Europe, between France and Spain
Geographic coordinates: 42 30 N, 1 30 E
Map references: Europe
Area: total: 468 sq km water: 0 sq km land: 468 sq km
Area - comparative: 2.5 times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries: total: 120.3 km border countries: France 56.6 km, Spain 63.7 km
Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims: none (landlocked)
Climate: temperate; snowy, cold winters and warm, dry summers
Terrain: rugged mountains dissected by narrow valleys
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Riu Runer 840 m highest point: Coma Pedrosa 2,946 m
Natural resources: hydropower, mineral water, timber, iron ore, lead
Land use: arable land: 2.22% permanent crops: 0% other: 97.78% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land: NA sq km
Natural hazards: avalanches Environment - current issues: deforestation; overgrazing of mountain meadows contributes to soil erosion; air pollution; wastewater treatment and solid waste disposal Environment - international party to: Hazardous Wastes
agreements: signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note: landlocked; straddles a number of important crossroads in the Pyrenees People Andorra
Population: 68,403 (July 2002 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 15.2% (male 5,456; female 4,951) 15-64 years: 71.9% (male 25,855; female 23,311) 65 years and over: 12.9% (male 4,425; female 4,405) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate: 1.11% (2002 est.)
Birth rate: 9.97 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate: 5.57 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate: 6.74 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.07 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.1 male(s)/female 15-64 years: 1.11 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 1 male(s)/female total population: 1.09 male(s)/ female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate: 4.07 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.) Life expectancy at birth: total population: 83.48 years female: 86.58 years (2002 est.) male: 80.58 years
Total fertility rate: 1.26 children born/woman (2002 est.) HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: NA% HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/ NA
AIDS:
HIV/AIDS - deaths: NA
Nationality: noun: Andorran(s) adjective: Andorran
Ethnic groups: Spanish 43%, Andorran 33%, Portuguese 11%, French 7%, other 6% (1998)
Religions: Roman Catholic (predominant)
Languages: Catalan (official), French, Castilian
Literacy: definition: NA total population: 100% male: NA% female: NA% Government Andorra
Country name: conventional long form: Principality of Andorra conventional short form: Andorra local short form: Andorra local long form: Principat d'Andorra
Government type: parliamentary democracy (since March 1993) that retains as its heads of state a coprincipality; the two princes are the president of France and bishop of Seo de Urgel, Spain, who are represented locally by coprinces' representatives
Capital: Andorra la Vella Administrative divisions: 7 parishes (parroquies, singular - parroquia); Andorra la Vella, Canillo, Encamp, La Massana, Escaldes-Engordany, Ordino, Sant Julia de Loria
Independence: 1278 (was formed under the joint suzerainty of France and Spain)
National holiday: Our Lady of Meritxell Day, 8 September (1278)
Constitution: Andorra's first written constitution was drafted in 1991; approved by referendum 14 March 1993; came into force 4 May 1993
Legal system: based on French and Spanish civil codes; no judicial review of legislative acts; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: French Coprince Jacques CHIRAC (since 17 May 1995), represented by Frederic de SAINT- SERNIN (since NA); Spanish Coprince Episcopal Monseigneur Joan MARTI Alanis (since 31 January 1971), represented by Nemesi MARQUES OSTE (since NA) elections: Executive Council president elected by the General Council and formally appointed by the coprinces for a four-year term; election last held 4 March 2001 (next to be held NA 2005) election results: Marc FORNE Molne elected executive council president; percent of General Council vote - NA% cabinet: Executive Council or Govern designated by the Executive Council president head of government: Executive Council President Marc FORNE Molne (since 21 December 1994)
Legislative branch: unicameral General Council of the Valleys or Consell General de las Valls (28 seats; members are elected by direct popular vote, 14 from a single national constituency and 14 to represent each of the 7 parishes; members serve four-year terms) elections: last held 4 March 2001 (next to be held NA March 2005) election results: percent of vote by party - PLA 46.1%, PSD 30%, PD 23.8%, other 0.1%; seats by party - PLA 15, PSD 6, PD 5, independents 2
Judicial branch: Tribunal of Judges or Tribunal de Batlles; Tribunal of the Courts or Tribunal de Corts; Supreme Court of Justice of Andorra or Tribunal Superior de Justicia d'Andorra; Supreme Council of Justice or Consell Superior de la Justicia; Fiscal Ministry or Ministeri Fiscal; Constitutional Tribunal or Tribunal Constitucional Political parties and leaders: Democratic Party or PD (formerly part of National Democratic Group or AND) [leader NA]; Liberal Party of Andorra or PLA [Marc Forne MOLNE] (used to be Liberal Union or UL); National Democratic Initiative or IDN [Vincenc MATEU Zamora]; New Democracy or ND [Jaume BARTOMEU Cassany]; Social Democratic Party or PSD (formerly part of National Democratic Group of AND) [leader NA]; Union of the People of Ordino (Unio Parroquial d'Ordino) or UPO [Simo DURO Coma] note: there are two other small parties Political pressure groups and NA
leaders: International organization CCC, CE, ECE, ICAO, ICRM, IFRCS,
participation: Interpol, IOC, ITU, OSCE, UN, UNESCO, WHO, WIPO, WToO, WTrO (observer) Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Jelena V. PIA-COMELLA chancery: 2 United Nations Plaza, 25th Floor, New York, NY 10017 FAX: [1] (212) 750-6630 telephone: [1] (212) 750-8064 Diplomatic representation from the the US does not have an embassy in
US: Andorra; the US Ambassador to Spain is accredited to Andorra; US interests in Andorra are represented by the Consulate General's office in Barcelona (Spain); mailing address: Paseo Reina Elisenda, 23, 08034 Barcelona, Spain; telephone: (3493) 280-2227; FAX: (3493) 205-7705
Flag description: three equal vertical bands of blue (hoist side), yellow, and red with the national coat of arms centered in the yellow band; the coat of arms features a quartered shield; similar to the flags of Chad and Romania, which do not have a national coat of arms in the center, and the flag of Moldova, which does bear a national emblem Economy Andorra -
Economy - overview: Tourism, the mainstay of Andorra's tiny, well-to-do economy, accounts for roughly 80% of GDP. An estimated 9 million tourists visit annually, attracted by Andorra's duty-free status and by its summer and winter resorts. Andorra's comparative advantage has recently eroded as the economies of neighboring France and Spain have been opened up, providing broader availability of goods and lower tariffs. The banking sector, with its "tax haven" status, also contributes substantially to the economy. Agricultural production is limited - only 2% of the land is arable - and most food has to be imported. The principal livestock activity is sheep raising. Manufacturing output consists mainly of cigarettes, cigars, and furniture. Andorra is a member of the EU Customs Union and is treated as an EU member for trade in manufactured goods (no tariffs) and as a non-EU member for agricultural products.
GDP: purchasing power parity - $1.3 billion (2000 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 3.8% (2000 est.)
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $19,000 (2000 est.) GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: NA% industry: NA% services: NA% Population below poverty line: NA% Household income or consumption by lowest 10%: NA%
percentage share: highest 10%: NA% Inflation rate (consumer prices): 4.3% (2000)
Labor force: 33,000 (2001 est.) Labor force - by occupation: agriculture 1%, industry 21%, services 78% (2000 est.)
Unemployment rate: 0%
Budget: revenues: $385 million expenditures: $342 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (1997)
Industries: tourism (particularly skiing), cattle raising, timber, tobacco, banking Industrial production growth rate: NA% Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: NA% other: NA% nuclear: NA% hydro: NA% Electricity - consumption: NA kWh
Electricity - exports: NA kWh
Electricity - imports: NA kWh note: most electricity supplied by Spain and France; Andorra generates a small amount of hydropower
Agriculture - products: small quantities of tobacco, rye, wheat, barley, oats, vegetables; sheep
Exports: $58 million (f.o.b., 1998)
Exports - commodities: tobacco products, furniture
Exports - partners: France 34%, Spain 58% (1998)
Imports: $1.077 billion (c.i.f., 1998)
Imports - commodities: consumer goods, food, electricity
Imports - partners: Spain 48%, France 35%, US 2.3% (1998)
Debt - external: $NA Economic aid - recipient: none
Currency: euro (EUR); French franc (FRF); Spanish peseta (ESP)
Currency code: EUR; FRF; ESP
Exchange rates: euros per US dollar - 1.1324 (January 2002), 1.1175 (2001), 1.0854 (2000), 0.9386 (1999); French francs per US dollar - 5.8995 (1998), 5.8367 (1997); Spanish pesetas per US dollar - 149.40 (1998), 146.41 (1997)
Fiscal year: calendar year Communications Andorra Telephones - main lines in use: 32,946 (December 1998) Telephones - mobile cellular: 14,117 (December 1998)
Telephone system: general assessment: NA domestic: modern system with microwave radio relay connections between exchanges international: landline circuits to France and Spain Radio broadcast stations: AM 0, FM 15, shortwave 0 (1998)
Radios: 16,000 (1997) Television broadcast stations: 0 (1997)
Televisions: 27,000 (1997)
Internet country code: .ad Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 1 (2000)
Internet users: 24,500 (2001) Transportation Andorra Railways: 0 km Highways: total: 269 km paved: 198 km unpaved: 71 km (1994 est.)
Waterways: none
Ports and harbors: none Airports: none (2001) Military Andorra
Military branches: no regular military forces, but there is a police force
Military - note: defense is the responsibility of France and Spain Transnational Issues Andorra
Disputes - international: border is undemarcated in sections

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officially Principality of Andorra

Independent coprincipality, southeastern Europe.

Area: 181 sq mi (468 sq km). Population (2002 est.): 66,400. Capital: Andorra la Vella. Lying on the southern slopes of the Pyrenees Mountains, it consists of a cluster of mountain valleys whose streams form the Valira River; it is bounded by Spain and France. Much of the population is Spanish; a minority is Andorran. Language: Catalan (official). Religion: Roman Catholicism. Currency: euro. Andorra's independence is traditionally ascribed to Charlemagne, who recovered the region from the Muslims in AD 803. It was placed under the joint suzerainty of the French counts of Foix and the Spanish bishops of Urgel in 1278, and it was subsequently governed jointly by the Spanish bishop of Urgel and the French head of state. This feudal system of government, the last in Europe, lasted until 1993, when a constitution was adopted that transferred most of the coprinces' powers to the Andorran General Council, which is elected by universal suffrage. Andorra has long had a strong affinity with Catalonia; its institutions are based in Catalonian law, and it is part of the diocese of Urgel (Spain). The traditional economy was based on sheep raising, but tourism grew in importance since the 1950s to become central to Andorra's economy by the early 21st century.

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▪ 2009

Area:
464 sq km (179 sq mi)
Population
(2008 est.): 84,100
Capital:
Andorra la Vella
Chiefs of state:
Co-princes of Andorra, the president of France and the bishop of Urgell, Spain
Head of government:
Chief Executive Albert Pintat Santolària

      Andorra in 2008 worked to enhance closer ties with other European countries. A principal goal of Chief Executive Albert Pintat Santolària's government was to institute the reforms needed to remove the country from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's list of tax havens. In 2008 Andorra signed on to the Proliferation Security Initiative to prevent trafficking in weapons of mass destruction. Pintat announced that the Future of Europe Summit would take place in Andorra on November 27–28. The summit was designed to provide a forum in which to brainstorm ideas to maximize Europe's role as a world leader in economic sustainability.

      Only 36% of the country's residents in 2008 were Andorran citizens. The literacy rate was 100%, and the skills level was high. In contrast to the problem of brain drain in some parts of Europe—losing students to other countries—especially to the United States, Andorra had gained expertise. The large number of foreign residents, however, was an ongoing concern, especially since Andorran citizenship required 25 years of residency. Noncitizens were limited to holding a 33% share of a local company for 20 years, but a bill pending in the legislature would reduce that number to 10 years.

Anne Roby

▪ 2008

Area:
464 sq km (179 sq mi)
Population
(2007 est.): 82,600
Capital:
Andorra la Vella
Chiefs of state:
Co-princes of Andorra, the president of France and the bishop of Urgell, Spain
Head of government:
Chief Executive Albert Pintat Santolària

      The economy of Andorra sustained a serious blow in 2007. No snow fell until the middle of March, and the usual skiing season (October–April) was therefore crippled. This knockout punch to the travel industry—the country's major source of revenue—set off a ripple effect throughout the economy, affecting shops, restaurants, and services dependent on tourism. An estimated 11.6 million tourists visited Andorra annually, but it was predicted that the number for 2007, the worst season in 20 years, would drop by at least 10%.

      One of Andorra's drawbacks—and a large part of its charm—was the difficulty in arriving there. Spain announced an agreement to build a new airport only 15 minutes' drive from the Spanish-Andorran border. In 2007 the closest major airports were located two and a half hours away in Barcelona or Toulouse, France. The proposed airport would be located in Seu d'Urgell, and the first flights were scheduled to begin in 2010 or 2011. The 1,370-m (4,500-ft) runway would accommodate commercial aircraft with 60–80 seats, as well as private jets.

      Andorra generally rated high in rankings of quality of life. The Economist magazine named Andorra first in the world for life expectancy, at an average age of 83 years.

Anne Roby

▪ 2007

Area:
464 sq km (179 sq mi)
Population
(2006 est.): 77,800
Capital:
Andorra la Vella
Chiefs of state:
Co-princes of Andorra, the president of France and the bishop of Urgell, Spain
Head of government:
Chief Executive Albert Pintat Santolària

      The challenge facing Andorra in 2006 was how best—and to what degree—to integrate itself into the European Union. Set against the country's desire for an active political and economic presence in Europe was concern about opening up its borders and losing control over immigration and trade. Customs reform, in particular, was a major issue, since the open frontiers of EU membership would seriously curtail income from custom dues. A new and expanded association treaty with the EU seemed more likely than full membership.

      The economy, based primarily on tourism, which accounted for more than 80% of GDP, continued to thrive. New hotels and ski resorts contributed to the influx of more long-term vacationers. The travel guide Lonely Planet decreed that Andorra had “the best skiing in the Pyrenees,” and travelers seemed to agree. More than 11.6 million visitors traveled to Andorra annually.

      Discussions continued regarding Andorra's severe restrictions on citizenship—legal residents in Andorra could acquire citizenship only after 25 years of residence. In addition, there remained ongoing concerns about the scarcity of housing and how best to modernize the country's taxation system.

Anne Roby

▪ 2006

Area:
464 sq km (179 sq mi)
Population
(2005 est.): 74,800
Capital:
Andorra la Vella
Chiefs of state:
Co-princes of Andorra, the president of France and the bishop of Urgell, Spain
Head of government:
Chief Executives Marc Forné Molné and, from May 27, Albert Pintat Santolària

      More than 80% of Andorran voters cast their ballots in parliamentary elections held on April 24, 2005. The ruling Andorran Liberal Party (PLA) won 14 of the 28 seats in the General Council. The Social Democratic Party (PS) captured 11 seats; the Democratic Center of Andorra (CDA) won 2; and Democratic Renovation (RD) claimed 1.

      Chief Executive Marc Forné Molné, who had served 10 years as head of government, stepped down after the elections. Albert Pintat Santolària, also a PLA member and former foreign minister, succeeded him on May 27. The new government's immediate concerns were to ease the restrictions on citizenship—only about one-third of the population were citizens—and deal with the scarcity of housing. Andorra continued to work toward developing its relationship with the EU, having signed a series of accords in June 2004 involving economic, social, and cultural cooperation. A major task for Andorra was to institute reforms required by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development so that Andorra would be removed from the OECD's list of countries that were deemed tax havens.

      The economy continued to thrive as investment in new ski facilities and hotels attracted more long-term visitors. Tourism represented 80% of Andorra's GDP.

Anne Roby

▪ 2005

Area:
464 sq km (179 sq mi)
Population
(2004 est.): 67,600
Capital:
Andorra la Vella
Chiefs of state:
Co-princes of Andorra, the president of France and the bishop of Urgell, Spain
Head of government:
Chief Executive Marc Forné Molné

      Andorra in 2004 worked to develop more modern political and social institutions in order to achieve fuller alignment with those of the European Union, members of which completely surrounded Andorra. Only one-third of Andorran residents were actual citizens of the country, and residency of 25 years was required for citizenship eligibility. Noncitizens with less than 20 years of residency could own only 33% of a company. A proposed law would reduce that limitation to 10 years, however.

      Andorra led the world in life expectancy at 83.5 years overall—80.6 years for males and 86.6 for females. To the disgruntlement of a few French farmers, the tiny landlocked principality increased its size by 35 ha (about 86 ac).

Anne Roby

▪ 2004

Area:
464 sq km (179 sq mi)
Population
(2003 est.): 66,900
Capital:
Andorra la Vella
Chiefs of state:
Co-princes of Andorra, the president of France and the bishop of Urgell, Spain
Head of government:
Chief Executive Marc Forné Molné

      In a year dominated by wars, violence, and terrorist attacks in much of the world, Andorra remained serene during 2003 in its nest in the Pyrenees. The country responded to the European Union's request to modify its banking secrecy laws to help in the search for terrorist funds.

      After having served since 1971 as bishop of Urgell, an honorary position that made him ex officio co-prince of Andorra, Mgr. Joan Marti Alanis retired and was succeeded by Mgr. Joan Enric Vives Sicilia on May 12.

      Andorra's economy, based primarily on the country's attraction to visitors, continued to thrive. Tourism made up approximately 80% of gross domestic product, and Andorra welcomed about 11 million visitors annually. The banking sector, the second largest component of the economy, continued to prosper as it worked to expand its financial services.

Anne Roby

▪ 2003

Area:
468 sq km (181 sq mi)
Population
(2002 est.): 66,500
Capital:
Andorra la Vella
Chiefs of state:
Co-princes of Andorra, the president of France and the bishop of Urgell, Spain
Head of government:
Chief Executive Marc Forné Molné

      Andorra's banking sector came under fire for its secrecy laws as the international search to uncover terrorist funds intensified in 2002. On April 18 the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development named seven territories as uncooperative tax havens—Andorra, Liberia, Liechtenstein, the Marshall Islands, Monaco, Nauru, and Vanuatu—and threatened sanctions against them. Gabriel Makhlouf, a member of the OECD's Committee on Fiscal Affairs, stated, “The globalised economy of the 21st century is going to rely on greater openness.”

      The Andorran police had earlier established a Money Laundering Prevention Unit to centralize information about money laundering, whether from drug trafficking, organized crime, or terrorism. The unit scored a major success on July 17 when the Andorran prosecutor's office ordered the preventive freezing of a €2 million (about $2 million) bank account that was suspected of belonging to a terrorist group.

      An ongoing investigation begun in 2000 was concluded in March when police in Spain and Andorra arrested nine members of a money-laundering ring involved in drug trafficking. The joint police action resulted in the arrests of seven people in Andorra and two in Spain; the suspects were accused of having laundered €6 million (about $5.2 million) through front companies and banks in both countries.

Anne Roby

▪ 2002

Area:
468 sq km (181 sq mi)
Population
(2001 est.): 66,900
Capital:
Andorra la Vella
Chiefs of state:
Co-princes of Andorra, the president of France and the bishop of Urgell, Spain
Head of government:
Chief Executive Marc Forné Molné

      Led by Chief Executive Marc Forné Molné, the ruling Liberal Party of Andorra (PLA) swept to victory in parliamentary elections held on March 4, 2001. With a turnout of 81.6% of the electorate, the PLA won an absolute majority—15 of the 28 seats; the Social Democratic Party garnered 6 seats, the Democratic Party 5, and Lauredian Union 2 seats. Forné had led Andorra since December 1994.

      Smuggling in Andorra continued with a new wrinkle in 2001. Older, retired people who had stashed their money under the mattress to avoid paying tax on it were flocking to Andorra with their carefully hoarded stashes of pesetas, francs, marks, and lire. There they hoped to exchange their banknotes on the black market for goods before July 2002, when the introduction of the euro would make them for the most part valueless.

      Andorra also began exploring the construction of a subway system to alleviate traffic congestion.

Anne Roby

▪ 2001

Area:
468 sq km (181 sq mi)
Population
(2000 est.): 66,700
Capital:
Andorra la Vella
Chiefs of state:
Co-princes of Andorra, the president of France and the bishop of Urgell, Spain
Head of government:
Chief Executive Marc Forné Molné

      Andorra had historically been a haven for smugglers, especially traffickers in illegal cigarettes. In 2000 concern about smuggling prompted a crackdown by the antifraud office of the European Union (EU), during which the possibility of bringing suit against several American cigarette manufacturers was raised. In order to circumvent tax dodgers, the EU proposed a plan to withhold taxes up front from interest paid into nonresidents' bank accounts and to do away with banking secrecy laws in Andorra, Switzerland, and other countries. Other, more recent types of crime were also shadowing the valleys of the Pyrenees. In February a network of money launderers for a Colombian drug cartel selling cocaine in Great Britain and Spain was broken up by Spanish police; some of the laundered money was found in banks in Andorra.

      The World Health Organization (WHO) announced in June that Andorra ranked 10th in the world in the number of years (72.3) a person could be expected to live in full health. Japan was the healthiest country, with an expected 74.5 years of good health, while Sierra Leone, at 25.9 years, was at the bottom of the list. In WHO's study of the world's health care systems, Andorra ranked fourth.

Anne Roby

▪ 2000

Area:
468 sq km (181 sq mi)
Population
(1999 est.): 66,100
Capital:
Andorra la Vella
Chiefs of state:
Co-princes of Andorra, the president of France and the bishop of Urgell, Spain
Head of government:
Chief Executive Marc Forné Molné

      Andorra maintained its status as a mecca for tourists, especially the day-trippers attracted by duty-free shopping. Efforts were being made to attract longer-term visitors on a year-round basis as well. The skiing season, which usually lasted from December through March, was enhanced and extended by the use of snowmaking machines. Hiking trails were developed to attract visitors during the dry season, and the village festivals during the summer months were more widely publicized. Banking continued to contribute substantially to the economy. Long considered a tax haven, Andorra worked to expand its financial services. Radio Valira, the first radio station in Andorra, opened during the year.

Anne Roby

▪ 1999

      Area: 468 sq km (181 sq mi)

      Population (1998 est.): 65,200

      Capital: Andorra la Vella

      Chiefs of state: Co-princes of Andorra, the president of France and the bishop of Urgell, Spain

      Head of government: Prime Minister Marc Forné Molné

      With the European Union's new border-free trade policy in place, there was in 1998 a huge increase in the export of British cigarettes to Andorra (amounting to three packs a day per capita). This set off alarms within Andorra, and in March the EU sent fraud investigators there to check on tobacco smuggling. They found that organized gangs from Ireland and Great Britain were buying cigarettes in Andorra and smuggling them to their own countries, where they were sold on the black market and 70-80% tax levies were thereby avoided. The loss of tax revenues in the EU was estimated at $5 billion annually. The Andorran government pledged cooperation and raised retail taxes on cigarettes but did not make smuggling a penal offense.

      In April Andorra's foreign minister, Albert Pintat, met for official talks with his counterpart in Cuba. They pledged that the two countries would continue to enjoy friendly relations.

ANNE ROBY

▪ 1998

      Area: 468 sq km (181 sq mi)

      Population (1997 est.): 64,600

      Capital: Andorra la Vella

      Chiefs of state: Co-princes of Andorra, the president of France and the bishop of Urgell, Spain

      Head of government: Prime Minister Marc Forné Molné

      Led by Prime Minister Marc Forné Molné, the ruling Liberal Union (UL) party swept the parliamentary elections held Feb. 16, 1997. The UL, calling for greater deregulation of the economy and willingness to allow foreign investment, won 18 of the 28 seats in the General Council of the Valleys and would for the first time rule outright without the necessity of forming coalitions with smaller parties. The liberal National Democratic Grouping captured six seats, while the New Democracy and the National Democratic Initiative parties each won two seats.

      Officials expressed concern over the economy, as the number of visitors has dropped in recent years. Some shops closed, and import tax revenue fell. Import tariffs provided three-fourths of the country's revenues, which made possible its lack of income and corporation taxes. There were still some bargains to be found in Andorra—for example, alcohol, tobacco, perfume, and gasoline, all of which were heavily taxed in neighbouring France and Spain. Visitors looking for duty-free luxury goods could find bargains, as shopkeepers were able to maintain low profit margins because of their large sales volume.

ANNE ROBY

      This article updates Andorra.

▪ 1997

      A landlocked parliamentary co-principality of Europe, Andorra is in the Pyrenees Mountains between Spain and France. Area: 468 sq km (181 sq mi). Pop. (1996 est.): 64,100. Cap.: Andorra la Vella. Monetary units: French franc and Spanish peseta. Co-princes: the president of France and the bishop of Urgell, Spain; head of the government in 1996, Marc Forné Molné.

      Andorra took significant steps toward increased involvement in world affairs in 1996. Juli Minoves-Triquell was named the first-ever permanent representative of Andorra to the United Nations as ambassador extraordinary and plentipotentiary. He also presented his credentials to U.S. Pres. Bill Clinton as the country's ambassador to the United States. Although tourism was a major component of the Andorran economy and 70% of first-time visitors returned, few of the visitors were from the U.S. Increasing those numbers was one objective of the Andorran Mission.

      Andorra also celebrated the opening of its first university. A branch of the European University, the school offered business management programs for bachelor's and master's degrees. (ANNE ROBY)

      This article updates Andorra.

▪ 1996

      A landlocked parliamentary coprincipality of Europe, Andorra is in the Pyrenees Mountains between Spain and France. Area: 468 sq km (181 sq mi). Pop. (1995 est.): 62,900. Cap.: Andorra la Vella. Monetary units: French franc and Spanish peseta. Coprinces: the president of France and the bishop of Urgell, Spain; head of the government in 1995, Marc Forné Molné.

      Andorra began 1995 with a new government led by Marc Forné Molné, who replaced Oscar Ribas Reig as president of the Executive Council. Ribas Reig, who had led the country out of more than 700 years of feudalism to independence, announced his government's resignation after losing a vote of confidence in the General Council of the Valleys (parliament) on Nov. 25, 1994. On Dec. 21, 1994, Molné, of the Liberal Union Party (Unió Liberal, UL), was sworn in at the head of a minority government. The political parties in coalition with the UL were the Liberal Group (Grup Liberal), the National Andorran Coalition (Coalició Nacional Andorrana), and the Canillo-La Massana Grouping (Agrupació Canillo-La Massana).

      Andorra's clean mountain air, lack of income tax, and discreet banking industry continued to attract foreigners and tax exiles. In 1995 the population remained three-quarters foreign; in addition, some 12 million people visited annually, drawn by the duty-free shopping. The country looked forward to expanding its banking services in hopes of becoming a major European financial services centre.

      In international affairs Andorra became a member of the Council of Europe on Nov. 10, 1994. It had been admitted to the UN as a full member in 1993. (ANNE ROBY)

      This updates the article Andorra.

▪ 1995

      A landlocked parliamentary coprincipality of Europe, Andorra is in the Pyrenees Mountains between Spain and France. Area: 468 sq km (181 sq mi). Pop. (1994 est.): 62,400. Cap.: Andorra la Vella. Monetary units: French franc and Spanish peseta. Coprinces: the president of the French Republic and the bishop of Seu d'Urgell, Spain; heads of the government in 1994, Oscar Ribas Reig and, from December 21, Marc Forne.

      A sovereign state after seven centuries of feudal rule, Andorra marked 1994 as its first year of democratic government. In the country's first general election under its new constitution, on Dec. 12, 1993, the National Democratic Grouping (AND), the party led by Oscar Ribas Reig, won the most seats (8) in the 28-seat legislature. On January 19 Ribas Reig, the outgoing president of the Executive Council, was reelected head of government by 15 of the 28 members of the legislature. On February 3 the new government, a coalition of AND members and independents, was sworn into office.

      Ribas Reig announced that his government would concentrate on fiscal and tax reforms and the development of tourism. To enhance income from tourism, Andorra was considering opening its residential property market to foreigners. Sales of vacation homes in the country would be targeted at skiers. Ramon Sera, minister of social and cultural affairs, announced that if the ban against foreign ownership was lifted, priority would be given to citizens of the European Union and the European Free Trade Association "who can show that they are not reliant upon a job, will invest in residential property, and can meet defined status requirements." These included proof of external income, maintenance of an account in an Andorran bank, a good character reference, and information from Interpol that the applicant had not committed serious crimes. (ANNE ROBY)

      This updates the article Andorra.

▪ 1994

      A landlocked parliamentary coprincipality of Europe, Andorra is in the Pyrenees Mountains between Spain and France. Area: 468 sq km (181 sq mi). Pop. (1993 est.): 61,900. Cap.: Andorra la Vella. Monetary units: French franc and Spanish peseta. Coprinces: the president of the French Republic and the bishop of Urgel, Spain; chief executive in 1993, Oscar Ribas Reig.

      On March 14, 1993, the citizens of Andorra voted overwhelmingly to adopt their first constitution, thus ending a system of government that had run on feudal lines for 715 years. The vote was 74.2% in favour and 25.8% against as 75.7% of the 9,123 eligible voters turned out. (Some 80% of Andorra's population consisted of foreign residents.) For the first time, Andorra would gain full sovereignty, with the right to establish an independent judicial system and set foreign policy. The constitution maintained the principality's unique system of coprinces, or joint sovereignty by the president of France and the bishop of Urgel, Spain, but with greatly reduced powers. It provided for the election of the parliament by universal suffrage and permitted the formation and membership by Andorran citizens of political parties and trade unions. The government was empowered for the first time to raise revenue through income taxes.

      The new constitution took effect on May 4, having previously been signed by Pres. François Mitterrand of France and Joan Marti Alanis, the bishop of Urgel. On June 3 Andorra signed a treaty of friendship and cooperation with France and Spain, which recognized its sovereignty. On July 28 Andorra became the 184th member of the UN. In the general election on December 12, Oscar Ribas Reig's party won the most seats (8) in the 28-seat parliament. Ribas Reig was expected to form a new coalition government.

      (ANNE ROBY)

      This updates the article Andorra.

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Catalan and Spanish  Andorra,  French  Andorre,  officially  Principality of Andorra  or  Principat d'Andorra 
Andorra, flag of   small independent European coprincipality situated among the south slopes of the Pyrenees Mountains (Pyrenees) and bounded by Spain (south and west) and by France (north and east). It is one of the smallest states in Europe. The capital is Andorra la Vella.

      Andorra's independence is traditionally ascribed to Charlemagne, who recovered the region from the Muslims in AD 803, and to his son Louis I (the Pious), who granted the inhabitants a charter of liberties. Charlemagne's grandson, Charles II, granted Andorra to the counts of Urgel, from whom it passed to the bishops of Urgel. Andorra's seven-century-old dual allegiance to two princes, one in Spain and one in France, originated in the late 13th century in a proprietary quarrel between the Spanish bishops of Urgel and the French heirs to the countship of Urgel. Andorra was subsequently governed jointly by representatives of the Spanish bishop of Urgel and of the French head of state, each of whom received an annual payment of a token tribute. This feudal system of government remained intact until 1993, when a constitution was adopted that greatly reduced the power of the coprinces and established separate executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government. Andorra subsequently joined the United Nations (1993) and the Council of Europe (Europe, Council of) (1994).

      The coprincipality has traditionally had a strong affinity with the region of Catalonia in northern Spain. Andorra's official language is Catalan; its institutions are based in Catalonian law, and a large proportion of the Spanish immigrants (or their descendants) in Andorra are Catalan. Most Andorrans are Roman Catholic, and the principality is part of the diocese of the See of Urgel. About nine-tenths of the population is classified as urban, and some two-thirds of the country's residents are foreign.

 Andorra consists of a cluster of mountain valleys whose streams unite to form the Valira River. The Madriu-Perafita-Claror Valley, which occupies about one-tenth of Andorra's land area and is characterized by glacial landscapes, steep valleys, and open pastures, was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2004. With only a tiny proportion of Andorra's land cultivable, the traditional economy centred on the pasturing of sheep and the harvesting of modest quantities of tobacco, rye, wheat, olives, grapes, and potatoes. Industry was limited to processing these products and to handicrafts. Tourism is Andorra's leading industry, exploiting the scenic attractions of the mountains and the area's excellent opportunities for winter sports. Because of the lack of customs duties and low or nonexistent taxes, Andorra also became an important international centre of retail trade that attracted millions of shoppers from all over Europe with its duty-free imported consumer goods. The banking sector is also economically significant. Because Andorra has no national monetary unit, the primary currency used is the euro. No railway system exists, but good roads link Andorra with France and Spain. The University of Andorra was established in 1997; it has faculties in nursing, computer studies, and virtual studies and continuing education.

      Historically, the coprinces (the French president and the bishop of Urgel) represented Andorra internationally and jointly headed the government through their delegates. The elected members of the General Council of the Valleys were responsible for internal administration and functioned as both an informal legislature and a cabinet headed by a prime minister. The 1993 constitution, approved by Andorran voters in a referendum, transferred most of the powers of the coprinces to the 28-member General Council and its cabinet, which became a true national parliament elected by universal suffrage. The government was newly empowered to raise revenues through taxation, to create an independent judiciary, to give citizens the right to form political parties and trade unions, and to control its foreign policy and join international organizations. The coprinces remained the constitutional heads of state, though this role was largely ceremonial.

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Universalium. 2010.