About Andorra

Source: BBC News

Andorra country profile


Almost hidden on the border between France and Spain, the tiny principality of Andorra is a land of narrow valleys and mountainous landscapes.

The mainstay of the economy is tourism.

An estimated 10 million people visit each year, drawn by the winter sports, summer climate and duty-free goods.

 

For more than 700 years Andorra has been ruled jointly by the leader of France and the Spanish Bishop of Urgel.

The first Andorran Constitution was passed in 1993, establishing a parliamentary co-principality.

The co-princes remain Andorra's heads of state but the roles are largely honorary.

The country's banking sector enjoys partial tax-haven status.

Andorra is not a member of the EU, but enjoys a special relationship with it and uses the euro.

 

Facts

  • Full name: The Principality of Andorra
  • Population: 84,864 (UN, 2010)
  • Capital: Andorra la Vella
  • Major languages: Catalan (official language), Spanish, French
  • Major religion: Christianity
  • Life expectancy: 81 years (men), 87 years (women)
  • Monetary unit: 1 euro = 100 cents
  • Main exports: Leather goods
  • GNI per capita:US 41,780 (World Bank 2008)
  • Internet domain: .ad
  • International dialling code: +376

Leaders

Co-heads of state: Joan Enric Vives i Sicilia, Bishop of Urgel, Spain, and François Hollande of France

Head of government: Antoni Marti

Antoni Marti

Antoni Marti took over as head of government after his Democrats for Andorra coalition heavily defeated the incumbent Social Democratic Party (PS) in an early parliamentary election.

His predecessor, Jaume Bartumeu Cassany, had called the election when the opposition blocked the government's budget in parliament for the second year running.

The Democrats won 55% against 35% for Mr Cassany's PS, capturing 21 of 28 seats in the General Council (parliament).

Mr Marti campaigned on a platform of opposing the introduction of an income tax proposed by Mr Cassany.

A trained architect, Mr Marti was mayor of Escaldes, Andorra's second-largest town, from 2004-11.

 

Media

The Andorran media scene is partly shaped by the proximity to France and Spain.

Andorrans have access to broadcasts from both countries, and for many years Andorra was home to Sud Radio, a powerful station broadcasting to southwest France.

The constitution provides for freedom of speech and of the press. There were 67,200 internet users by June 2010, around 80% of the population (InternetWorldStats).

 

Facts about Andorra


The Principality of Andorra is located in the Pyrenees Mountains between France and Spain. Andorra is one of Europe’s smallest independent countries with a total population of less than 90.000 and an area of only 468 km². No more than a 2 hour drive from the Mediterranean Sea, Andorra offers more than 300 sunny days per year and spectacular, untouched nature with excellent skiing in winter. In addition, the country is known for its tax-freedom and banking secrecy. All this makes Andorra a perfect base for your permanent residency.

Andorra is also one of Europe’s oldest countries, being founded in 1287. The Principality has been an independent state since 1993, and the currency is the Euro. The official language is Catalan, although most people speak Spanish and even English is becoming common.

Tourism is Andorra’s main industry and accounts for 80% of the country’s GDP. Attracted by Andorra’s nature and its tax-free shopping, more than 10 million tourists visit Andorra every year.

The country’s banking institutions also benefit from Andorra’s fiscal system and its banking secrecy policy, and they contribute largely to the Andorran economy.

Even if Andorra is not a member of the EU, it profits by the import of goods through its agreements with the European community.

The country’s climate is similar to the North of Spain, however due to the altitude (the lowest/highest point is 870/2.946 meters over sea level), the air is dryer, which makes summers very pleasant and gives Andorra’s ski centres excellent snow conditions during the winter.

The living costs are lower, or on par with other European countries. Thanks to the absence of industry and the pleasant climate, the people of Andorra are currently listed as having the highest life expectancy in the world, with an average of 83.5 years.

Andorra has very good flight connections through Toulouse (France) and Barcelona, Reus ,Girona and now also Lleida-Alguaire (Spain). All airports are approx. 200km (Lleida 150km) or about 2-3 hours driving from Andorra. There is also a helicopter service in Andorra shortening the distance to the respective airport to half an hour flight.

Andorra's history

For 715 years, from 1278 to 1993, Andorrans lived under a unique co-principality, ruled by French and Spanish leaders (from 1607 onward, the French chief of state and the Spanish bishop of Urgell). In 1993, this feudal system was modified with the titular heads of state retained, but the government transformed into a parliamentary democracy. Long isolated and impoverished, Andorra achieved considerable prosperity since World War II through its tourist and banking industry.

Andorra's Parishes

Andorra is divided into 7 parishes. Each parish has 2 representatives in the Andorran Parliament.

Canillo
Encamp
Ordino
La Massana
Andorra la Vella
Sant Julia de Loria
Escaldes-Engordany

Comparison of the surface area of small European countries (km2)

Cyprus 9.251
Luxemburg 2.568
Andorra 468
Malta 324
Lichtenstein 160
San Marino 61
Monaco 2
Vatican 0.44


Andorra's population (2012)

Total 69.758