The official name is the Principality (or principate) of Andorra (in Catalan – Principat d’Andorra, in Spanish – Principado de Andorra, in French – Principaute d’Andorre).
It is located in the southwest of Europe in the eastern part of the Pyrenees. The area is 465 km2. Population – 68.4 thousand people. (2002). The official language is Catalan, with Spanish and French spoken. The capital is Andorra (Andorra la Vieja, 25 thousand people). National holiday – 8 September. The monetary unit is the euro (since 2002).
Member of the UN (since 1993), UNESCO, OSCE, etc.
Geography of Andorra
Andorra is located at the intersection of 42°30′ north latitude and 1°30′ east longitude. It borders on the north with France, on the south with Spain. It is located at an altitude of about 1000 m in a picturesque basin surrounded by high mountains (the peak of Coma Pedrosa is 2946 m). The territory of the country is crossed by the river. Valira and its tributaries. Mountain burozems predominate in the valleys, and podzolic soils prevail on the wooded slopes of the mountains. Forests occupy 1/3 of the territory (spruce, fir, beech, chestnut). Above the forest belt are subalpine and alpine meadows. The valleys are dominated by hard-leaved oaks. From animals there are martens, foxes, squirrels, hares, Pyrenean muskrat, wild boars, mountain goats. Of the birds, there are capercaillie, owls, pheasants. The bowels of the country are rich in iron ore, there are tin, silver, precious and ornamental stones. Winters are cold with heavy snowfalls, summers are cool, in the very south, the climate is continental with dry summers. In the valleys, the average temperature in summer is +20°С, in winter +2°С, and precipitation is 400–500 mm. In the mountains +5-10°C in summer, down to -15°C in winter.
Population of Andorra
According to Countryaah, the average annual population growth is 1.11% (2002). Birth rate – 9.97% 0, mortality – 5.57% 0 (2002). The average life expectancy is 80.5 years for men and 86 years for women. Age structure: up to 14 years old – 15.2%, 15-64 years old – 71.9%, 65 years and older – 12.9%. Urban population – 42%. Competently almost 100% of the adult population. More than 30% are Catalans, 43% are Spaniards, the rest are French, Portuguese, etc. (2002). The dominant religion is Catholic.
History of Andorra
The Principality of Andorra has existed since the early Middle Ages. In the beginning. 8th c. was conquered by the Arabs, in the 9th century. they were expelled. Since 1133 it has been under the authority of the Bishop of Urgell. In 1278, as a result of the struggle between the bishop and the French prince de Foix, an act of mutual recognition of rights was signed, according to which the bishop of Urgell and prince Roger Bernard III of Foix became co-princes of Andorra. In 1419, in agreement with the co-rulers, the first parliament of the country (the Council of Lands) was created. In con. 16th century the right to suzerainty passed to the French kings. After the French Revolution, France renounced its rights to Andorra, which were restored by Napoleon in 1806. In 1866, the first Constitution was proclaimed. In 1934-41 the country was ruled by the Russian White émigré staff captain B. Skosyrev, who proclaimed himself a prince, and then king Boris I, who carried out a number of liberal reforms, including granting suffrage to all men (previously only heads of families used it). Andorran women gained the right to vote in 1970.
State structure and political system of Andorra
Andorra is a parliamentary principality under the joint protectorate of Spain and France. The co-rulers of the country are the President of France and the Bishop of Urgell (Spain), who are still paid a symbolic tribute. The constitution has been in force since 1993. The legislature is a unicameral parliament, or the General Council, consisting of 28 deputies, 4 from each parish. Its powers are limited to matters of general order and justice. Since 1993, Andorra has received its own government – the Executive Council, the head of which is elected by the Parliament. Since 1994 he has been M. Forne Molne. The main parties of Andorra: the Democratic Party, the Liberal Party, the National Democratic Initiative, the Social Democratic Union, etc. The country is divided into 7 parishes. At the head of each parish is a municipal council elected by the population of that parish.
Economy of Andorra
80% of Andorra’s GDP comes from the tourism industry, the rest – from agriculture, industry and energy. The volume of GDP is $1.3 billion, growth is 3.8%, GDP per capita is $19,000 (2000). Economically active population 33 thousand people. (2001). Inflation is 4.3%, there is no unemployment. The largest hydroelectric power station is located on the river. Valira in Les Escaldes (power – 26.5 MW). The rest of the electricity comes from France and Spain, and there are several small power plants on the mountain rivers.
78% of the economically active population is employed in the service sector, 21% in industry, and 1% in agriculture (2000). Sheep breeding and tobacco cultivation dominate in agriculture, barley, rye, potatoes, and grapes are widely planted. Only 2% of the land is cultivated, so most of the food is imported. The manufacturing industry is represented by the production of tobacco products, furniture, mineral water, cheese, handicraft production of souvenirs. In the service sector, the main industry is tourism, trade and banking are developed. Every year, the country is visited by 9-10 million tourists, who are attracted by mountain resorts, beautiful landscapes, as well as the duty-free status of Andorra. Since 1991, after negotiations with the EU, quotas have been established in the country for the import and sale of tobacco, alcoholic beverages, and dairy products. Andorra is a member of the EU Customs Union.
The length of motor roads is 269 km, of which 198 km are paved. The number of telephone lines is about 33 thousand, mobile phones – about 14 thousand (1998), Internet users – 24.5 thousand (2001). There are no railroads or airports.
Andorra’s budget: 385 million dollars – revenues, 342 million dollars – expenses. Trading operations are concentrated in 15 large wholesalers. The banking system includes 7 banks and 53 branches. Regulated by a law passed in 1993, which requires banks to invest 4% of their deposits in a public debt sinking fund. The social security system was created back in con. 1960s, pays for sickness, pensions and insurance for workers and employees.
Export – 58 million dollars, import – 1.077 billion dollars. The main export goods are tobacco products and furniture. France accounts for 34% of exports, Spain – 58%. The main imported goods are consumer goods, food, and electricity. Spain accounts for 48% of imports, France 35%, and the US 2.3% (1998). Andorra is not a full-fledged offshore center. Despite the virtual absence of taxes, the activity of foreign capital is allowed only in mixed companies, where foreigners can have no more than 33%. To become an Andorran resident, you need to live in the country for at least 20 years.
Science and culture of Andorra
In Andorra, 18 schools (10,000 students) providing a seven-year education are maintained at the expense of France and Spain, teaching is conducted in the languages of these countries. The study of the Catalan language is included in the program. At the local church there is a school where teaching is in Catalan. Primary education is free. Complete and secondary education can only be obtained abroad.
Spain and France influenced the development of culture. Andorra has a long tradition of artistic metal casting, wood and stone carving. Painting is dominated by nature. The capital has a museum, a library and an archive. There are architectural monuments, incl. Roman and Arabic periods. The “House of the Valleys” (1580) houses the seat of the government of Andorra.