The official name is the Principality of Liechtenstein (Fuerstentum Lichtenstein, Principality of Liechtenstein). Located in Central Europe. The area is 160 km2, the population is 32.8 thousand people. (2002). The official language is German. The capital is Vaduz. National holiday – Assumption Day on August 15th. The monetary unit is the Swiss franc.
Member of 18 international organizations, incl. UN, WTO, UNCTAD, etc.
Geography of Liechtenstein
Located between 9°32′ east longitude and 47°16′ north latitude. It borders on the east with Austria (34.9 km), in the southwest with Switzerland (41.1 km). The landscape is mainly a mountain range, which is part of the Eastern Alps (3/4 of the entire country), the highest point is Mount Grauspitz (2599 m). The rest of the area is occupied by a flat valley on the right bank of the Rhine river. The soils in the mountains are composed of limestone and dolomite, the mountains are covered with coniferous forests and mountain pastures; in the Rhine valley, fertile soils are conducive to efficient agriculture. The climate is continental: harsh in the mountains, mild in the valley with warm summers.
The population of Liechtenstein
According to Countryaah, the dynamics of population growth is very active, the increase in the number has occurred over the past half century by almost 2.5 times (in 1950 – 13.8 thousand people). Annual population growth 9.4% (2002). The birth rate is 11.24%, the death rate is 6.76%. Infant mortality 4.92 pers. per 1000 newborns (2002). Net increase in immigrants 4.93% (2002). Average life expectancy is 79.1 years, incl. men – 75.45 years, women – 82.74 years (2002).
Age structure of the population: 0-14 years old 18.3%, 15-64 years old 70.5%, 65 years and older 11.2%. The ratio of men and women – 0.95, at the age of 65 years and older – 0.69. The educational level of the population is high – over the age of 10, 100% of the population can read and write.
Ethnic composition: 86% are Alemans (one of the ancient Germanic tribes), the remaining 14% are Italians, Turks, etc. Spoken language: Alemenian dialect of German.
Religious composition: Catholics – 76.2%, Protestants – 7%, other religions – 16.8%.
History of Liechtenstein
The Principality of Liechtenstein was founded as part of the Holy Roman Empire on January 23, 1719. It became an independent state on July 12, 1806. In 1806–14 it was part of the Confederation of the Rhine, which was under the protectorate of France. In 1815–66 it became part of the German Confederation, and in 1876–1918 it became economically and politically connected with the Austrian Empire. At the end of World War I, Liechtenstein entered into a customs and monetary union with Switzerland (1924).
During the 2nd World War, Liechtenstein remained neutral, which contributed to the acceleration of its economic development. Economic growth continued in the post-war years, as the country maintained a low level of taxation. In addition, Liechtenstein began to provide intermediary international financial services, which also contributed to the growth of his wealth.
State structure and political system of Liechtenstein
Liechtenstein is a hereditary constitutional monarchy on a democratic and parliamentary basis. The Constitution adopted on October 5, 1921 is in force. Liechtenstein is administratively divided into 11 communities: Balzers, Eschen, Gamprin, Mauren, Planken, Ruggell, Schaan, Schellenberg, Triesen, Triesenberg, Vaduz.
The head of state is Prince (Prince) Hans Adam II (accessed the throne on August 26, 1984), Crown Prince Alois (born June 11, 1968). Elections of 25 deputies to the unicameral parliament (Landtag) take place by direct popular vote on a proportional basis (for 4 years, the last took place on February 11, 2001). The Cabinet of Ministers is chosen by Parliament but approved by the Monarch. The prime minister is the representative of the party with the most votes. Since April 5, 2001, O. Hasler has been at the head of the government. Three parties are represented in Parliament: Progressive Citizens (FBP) – 49.9%, Fatherland Union (VU) – 41.35% and Independent List (FL) – 8.71%.
The domestic and foreign policies of the country are aimed at harmonizing society in accordance with the principles of an integrating Europe. Liechtenstein is a member of the European Economic Area (since May 1995), but is not (like Switzerland) a member of the EU. There are no armed forces in the country, defense problems are delegated to Switzerland.
Economy of Liechtenstein
Liechtenstein, despite its small size and limited natural resources, is a prosperous industrialized market economy country with a viable financial system. His economy is quite diversified, there are many small companies operating in it. Moreover, the low level of taxation (does not exceed 20%) and the simplified form of corporate registration contributed to the influx of numerous foreign holdings (and even “nominal mailboxes”) into the country, which annually provides up to 30% of all state budget revenues.
The size of the country’s GDP is small, they were estimated at 730 million dollars, GDP per capita – 23 thousand dollars. (1998). Number of employed 28.8 thousand people. (2001), incl. 13.8 thousand foreigners (another 8.2 thousand people come to work daily from two neighboring countries). Unemployment 1.3% (1999), inflation 1% (2001).
In the sectoral structure of the economy, approx. 40% of GDP falls on industry, the rest is in the service sector, agriculture, etc. 48% of the economically active population is employed in industry (including trade and construction), 51% in the service sector, and 1 in agriculture (including gardening and fishing) %.
In industry, the most developed are: electronics, metalworking, production of precision tools, pharmaceuticals. Agriculture is dominated by animal husbandry, grain production, viticulture.
The transport system is focused on transit traffic. The country is crossed by the Zurich-Innsbruck international railway line (18.5 km passes through the territory of the Principality). Motorways total 250 km. There are no river shipping companies, ports and national airports. There is an automatic telephone communication system within the country (20.1 thousand users), international communication is carried out through Switzerland.
Modern economic policy is aimed at stimulating the development of microelectronics, pharmaceuticals, and the production of precision instruments, which is most consistent with the corporate structure of the economy (small and medium-sized companies). Special conditions are being created to create a favorable investment climate for national and foreign entrepreneurs. Recently, the tightening of international rules aimed at preventing “money laundering” through the country’s banking structures has intensified.
Monetary policy is aimed primarily at maintaining a balanced state budget. In recent years, its surplus has been constantly recorded: revenues – 424.2 million dollars, expenses – 414.1 million dollars (1998). The country has no external debt (2001).
The standard of living of the population is comparable with similar indicators for urban residents of the two neighboring countries; the tax burden in Liechtenstein is almost twice as low, so there are no citizens in the country who have an income below the subsistence level.
In foreign trade, the export of goods is more than three times the volume of GDP – $ 2.47 billion, imports amount to $ 917.3 million (about 90% of all energy consumed is imported). This excess of export values compared to the level of national GDP is explained by the large-scale intermediary operations of this small country.
Science and culture of Liechtenstein
The educational system largely copies the Swiss model of education and has a high standard. There is a gymnasium in Vaduz, where in 2000 approx. 650 students. In Liechtenstein, approx. 360 students in the specialties: architecture, finance, economics, philosophy, of which about 100 people. residents of Liechtenstein. In the field of higher education and scientific research, Liechtenstein is oriented towards international cooperation. In 2000 ca. 460 students from Liechtenstein studied at Swiss and Austrian universities; a small part of them studied in Germany. Teacher training takes place predominantly in Swiss educational institutions.
Liechtenstein has a lively and varied cultural life. In November 2000, an art museum was opened in Vaduz, which, along with state funds, exhibits paintings from the collection of the Prince of Liechtenstein.