About the country

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National Institutions
Representation of the French Co-Prince
General Council
Government of Andorra
Ministry of Finance and Interior
Department of Studies and Statistics
Customs Service of Andorra
Ministry of Health and Welfare
Ministry of Tourism and Culture
Department of Tourism
National Historical Archive
Trademark Office of the Principality of Andorra
Police Service of Andorra
Agency of Mobility
National Centre for Informatics
Commission for the Information Society
Radio and Television Organisation of Andorra
Political Parties
Liberal Party of Andorra
Socialdemocratic Party
Coalition for Progress

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Banca Privada
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Andorra Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Services
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Andorra -- Geography --

Official Name: Principality of Andorra
Capital City: Andorra la Vella
Land Area: 468 sq km
Landforms: High mountains, a few small, winding rivers and narrow central valleys. Andorra consists of a cluster of mountain valleys whose streams unite to form the Valira River. Climate: Snowy, cold winters and warm, dry summers Languages: The official language is Catalan, although most inhabitants also speak French and Spanish due to the many economic and social links to the neighbouring states.
Official Currency: Euro,
Religions: Mostly Christians with 95% of the population Roman Catholic while the remainder are Jews, Jehovah Witnesses and Protestants.
Population: 70,549 (July 2005 est.);
Andorra is the highest inhabited state in Europe, with the Spanish accounting for 43% of the population, the Andorran 33%, the Portuguese 11%, the French 7% and others 6%. Due to the large number of immigrants and high birth rate, the Andorran population has always been on the rise. Nearly two-thirds of the population is urban.
Age structure (2005 est.): 0-14 years: 14.8% (male 5,471/female 4,995) 15-64 years: 71.5% (male 26,463/female 23,977) 65 years and over: 13.7% (male 4,780/female 4,863);
Median age (2005 est.): total: 40.34 years male: 40.63 years female: 40.02 years;
Population growth rate (2005 est.): 0.95%;
Life expectancy at birth (2005 est.): total population: 83.51 years male: 80.6 years female: 86.6 years;
Density: 144,5 persons per sq km ;
Urban-Rural (1986): 64.7% urban, 35.3% rural;
Sex Distribution (1990): 53.1% male, 46.9% female;
Education (1985): Aged 15 or over and having attained: no formal schooling 5.5%, primary 47.3%, secondary 21.6%, higher 24.9%;

Andorra -- History --

In the first milenium B. C. the teritory of Andorra is populated by celtic tribes (Britons). In first century a big part of the country is conquered by Rome. In V-VII century Britain is conquered by North-Germanic tribes Angles, Saxes, Jutes and Frisians, which form several kingdoms here. In 829 a large part of the country is united in a single state England. In 1066 it is invaded by the Normans. William I Conqueror becomes English king (till 1087). With the creation of the Parliament (1265) England is formed as estate monarchy. After The Hundred-year war (1337-1453) the English crown loose its lands in France. During the war, in 1381 a revolt of Wot Tylor expells. After the war between the Red and the White Rose (1455-1485) , continuous feudal civil war, the dynasty of Tudores is established (1485-1603) which imposed absolutism. The Glourious Revolution (1640-1660) strengthens the position of capitalism and establishes burgeois system in the coutry. The parties of Vigues and Tores appear (later -Liberal and Conservative parties). Since 1707, the official name of the country becomes Andorra of Great Britain. As a result of successful wars of conquest during three centuries (17, 18, and 19) at the end of 19 century Great Britain rules over 1/4 of the teritory of the world (including India, New Zeeland, South Africa etc.) During WW2 it is a part of the anti-fashiste coalition. After WW2, the British colonial empire disintegrates. Great Britain is member of UNO(1945), NATO (1949) and EU (1973).

Andorra -- Economy --

With only about 3 % of the land cultivable, the traditional economy centred on the pasturing of sheep and the harvesting of modest quantities of tobacco, wheat, olives, grapes, and potatoes. Industry was limited to processing these products and to handicrafts. From the 1950s tourism became one of Andorra's chief industries, exploiting the scenic attractions of the mountains and the area's excellent opportunities for winter sports. Because of the deficiency of customs duties and low or nonexistent taxes, Andorra in the late 20th century also became an valuable international centre of retail trade that attracted millions of shoppers from all over Europe with its duty-free imported consumer goods. 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.
Barley, Cattle, Potatoes, Rye, Sheep, Tobacco, Vegetables. MAJOR INDUSTRIES: Forestry, Furniture, Leather, Publishing, Tax Free Trading, Textiles, Tobacco Processing, Tourism. Andorra's GDP for 1998 was $1.2 billion , with tourism as its principal component. Attractive for shoppers from France and Spain as a free port, the country also has developed active summer and winter tourist resorts. With some 270 hotels and 400 restaurants, as well as many shops, the tourist trade employs a growing portion of the domestic labour force. There is a fairly active trade in consumer goods, including imported manufactured items, which, because they are duty-free, are less expensive in Andorra than in neighboring countries. As a result, smuggling is commonplace. Andorra's duty free status also has had a significant effect on the controversy concerning its relationship with the European Union. Its negotiations on duty-free status and relationship with the Union began in 1987, soon after Spain joined. An agreement that went into effect in July 1991 sets duty-free quotas and places limits on certain items--mainly milk products, tobacco, and alcoholic beverages. Andorra is permitted to maintain price differences from other EU countries, and visitors enjoy limited duty-free allowances. The results of Andorra's elections thus far indicate that many support the government's reform initiatives and believe Andorra must, to some degree, integrate into the European Union in order to continue to enjoy its prosperity. Although less than 2% of the land is arable, agriculture was the mainstay of the Andorran economy until the upsurge in tourism. Sheep raising has been the principal agricultural activity, but tobacco growing is lucrative. Most of Andorra's food is imported. In addition to handicrafts, manufacturing includes cigars, cigarettes, and furniture for domestic and export markets. A hydroelectric plant at Les Escaldes, with a capacity of 26.5 megawatts, provides 40% of Andorra's electricity; Spain provides the rest. 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 by a scarcity of arable land, and most food has to be imported. The principal livestock activity is sheep raising. Manufacturing 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. [edit] Statistics 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 percentage share: lowest 10%: NA% highest 10%: NA% Inflation rate (consumer prices): 4.3% (2000) Labor force: 33,000 (2001) Labor force - by occupation: agriculture 1%, industry 21%, services 72%, other 6% (1998) Unemployment rate: 0% (1996 est.) 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: 116 GWh (1998) Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 0% hydro: 40% nuclear: 0% other: 60% imported from Spain Electricity - consumption: NA kWh (1998 est.) Electricity - exports: 0 kWh Electricity - imports: NA kWh; note - imports electricity from Spain and France 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: Euros have replaced the French franc and the Spanish peseta. Exchange rates: euros per US$1 - 0.9867 (January 2000), 0.9386 (1999) Fiscal year: calendar year

Andorra -- Culture --

Apart from the natural beauty that has been endowed on it, Andorra can boast of a rich architectural heritage and ancestral traditions, which have been preserved for more than thousands of years now. It is this rich heritage that contributes to its sense of identity and provides evidence of its origins. Andorran culture is Catalan in essence, since the native-born population is Catalan. However, it has given a significant and easily identifiable contribution to the conglomerate of Catalan culture. The flag of Andorra consists of three equal vertical bands of blue (hoist side), yellow, and red with the national coat of arms centred 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 centre, and the flag of Moldova, which does bear a national emblem. Two writers renowned in Catalonia and the region, Michele Gazier and Ramon Villero, both come from Andorra. In adition, Ricard Fiter, a renowned writer, not only comes from Andorra, but also serves as the Principality's ombudsman. Yet the tradition of writing in Andorra dates farther back than the 20th century. Antoni Fiter i Rossell, from the parish of Ordino, wrote a history book of his lands called Digest manual de las valls neutras de Andorra in 1748, describing the feudal historical and legal setting of Andorra. Given the fondness of the Catalans for music, it may not be surprising to hear that Andorra has a Chamber Orchestra directed by the violinist Gerard Claret; and that it also stages a famous international singing contest supported by Montserrat Caballe. This year, for the first time, Andorra will participate in the Eurovision Song Contest, with the first song in the contest's 50 year long history to be sung in the Catalan language. Andorra can definitely get in to a festive mood with most of the popular festivals and traditions coinciding with religious festivals and natural cycles on Earth. Some of the famous festivals are St. George's Day (Sant Jordi), where roses and books are given as presents and Festa del Poble, celebrated on St. John's Day (Sant Joan) marks the summer solstice. St.Lucia fair is another festival where materials for making traditional Christmas creches and typical Christmas products are on sale. There is also a festive dedicated to the patron saint of Andorra la Vella - The feast of Saint Stephen (Sant Esteve). Andorrans tend to celebrate their festivals gladly and loudly. Typical dances, such as the marratxa, sardana, and the contrapas, are especially popular at feasts. The single most important event in Andorran cultural life is the Escaldes-Engordany international jazz festival, where stars such as Miles Davis, Fats Domino and B.B. King have taken part. Andorra is a country filled with music lovers, which is precisely why the International Jazz Festival is held every July, the Festival of Classic Music is held every September and the months from November to May sees The Season of Music and Dance in Andorra. Apart from this, many exhibitions dedicated to Andorra are also held quite often.

Andorra -- Life style --

Most Andorrans are Roman Catholic, and the principality is part of the diocese of the See of Urgel. Andorra can definitely get in to a festive mood with most of the popular festivals and traditions coinciding with religious festivals and natural cycles on Earth. Some of the famous festivals are St. George's Day (Sant Jordi), where roses and books are given as presents and Festa del Poble, celebrated on St. John's Day (Sant Joan) marks the summer solstice. St.Lucia fair is another festival where materials for making traditional Christmas creches and typical Christmas products are on sale. There is also a festive dedicated to the patron saint of Andorra la Vella - The feast of Saint Stephen (Sant Esteve). Andorrans tend to celebrate their festivals gladly and loudly. Typical dances, such as the marratxa and the contrapas, are especially popular at feasts. Being a country suited to tourism, the Principality hosts international, prestigious meetings throughout the year, demonstrating Andorran cultural life. Apart from exhibitions dedicated to Andorra and "art without frontiers", the parish comuns organize well-known artistic activities of prestige: concerts (jazz, flamenco, spanish pop, local modern music), feasts (Country Music Feast, Bagpipers' Meet, typical dances, dance exhibition, The Festival of Classic Music in Ordino in September, The Season of Music and Dance in Andorra la Vella, from November to May), street theatre.
The national holiday of Andorra is called Our Lady of Meritxell Day. It is celebrated on 8 September.
The cuisine is mainly Catalan, and generally expensive. Quality and prices in restaurants are similar to those in small French and Spanish resort towns. Local dishes include coques (flavored flat cakes), trinxat (a potato and cabbage dish), truites de carreroles (a type of mushroom omelette), local sausages and cheese, and a variety of pork and ham dishes. DRINKS: Alcoholic drinks bought in shops and supermarkets are cheap (Andorra is a duty free zone), but prices in bars can be high. They do, however, stay open late. Andorra’s many bars and hotels provide a variety of evening entertainment. Discos are open during both summer and winter.

Andorra -- Political system, law and government --

Until very recently, Andorra's political system had no clear division of powers into executive, legislative, and judicial branches. Ratified and approved in 1993, the constitution establishes Andorra as a sovereign parliamentary democracy that retains the co-princes as heads of state, but the head of government retains executive power. Andorra's main legislative body is the unicameral General Council of the Valleys (Consell General de les Valls), a parliament of 28 seats; members are elected by direct popular vote, 14 from a single national constituency and 14 to represent each of the 7 parishes, with members serving four-year terms. Defense of the country is the responsibility of France and Spain. The heads of State: the co-princes The Andorran Constitution establishes in article 43 that the co-princes are jointly and indivisibly the heads of State and its highest representation. The two co-princes serve coequally with limited powers that do not include veto over government acts. They are represented in Andorra by a delegate. The way in which the two princes are chosen makes Andorra one of the most politically distinct nations on earth. One co-Prince is the man or woman who is currently serving as President of France, currently Jacques Chirac (it has historically been any Head of State of France, including Kings and Emperors of France). The other is the current Catholic bishop of the Spanish city of La Seu d'Urgell, currently Joan Enric Vives i Sicilia. As neither prince lives in Andorra their role is almost entirely ceremonial. The most remarkable feature of the Andorran system is precisely this, that there are two heads of State, a feature that has come down to us from the Pariatges and is the result of the singular historical development of Andorra. The co-princes preside over and moderate the public powers and exercise their functions with the counter-signature of the head of Government or the speaker. Among other things, they call the general elections, give accreditation to diplomatic representatives, sanction and promulgate the laws, and give consent for the State to bind itself by means of international treaties, in the conditions fixed by the Constitution. The Consell General is legislative organ. The forerunner of the General Council was the Land Counsil, created in 1419, in which representatives from all the parishes (administrative and territorial divisions) met twice a year. The General Council represents the Andorran people, exercises the legislative function, approves the State budgets and promotes and controls the Government’s political actions. The members are elected by universal suffrage, free, equal, direct and secret, for a term of four years. The General Council is composed of general councillors, between twenty eight and forty two, half of whom are elected in equal numbers for each of the seven parishes and the other half are elected by national ballot. The Speaker’s Office or Sindicatura is the organ controlling the General Council. The speaker and deputy speaker may not hold their posts for more than two consecutive mandates. The General Council meets in traditional sessions, ordinary and extraordinary, and functions in plenary form and through committees. For the General Council to adopt resolutions validly, it must be in session with the attendance of at least half the councillors. The legislative initiative corresponds to the General Council and to the Government. Three Communes jointly or a tenth of the national electoral census can present propositions for law to the General Council. As soon as the General Council approves a law, the speaker advises the co-princes so that, between the eighth and fifteenth day following, they may sanction it, promulgate it and order its publication in the Official Journal of the Principality of Andorra. The Andorran government is formed by the General Council electing the Head of Government (Cap de Govern), who then appoints ministers to the cabinet, the Executive Council (Govern). Currently, government is held by the Liberal Party of Andorra, with Albert Pintat as Prime Minister. The Social Democratic Party (Andorra) is in opposition. The Government directs the national and international policies of Andorra. It also directs the administration of the State and exercises the power of regulation. The Government prepares the general budget each year and submits it to the vote of the General Council. Andorra is divided for administrative and territorial purposes into seven parishes: Canillo, Encamp, Ordino, la Massana, Andorra la Vella, Sant Julia de Loria and Escaldes-Engordany. The communes represent and administrate the interests of the parishes.

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