THE ANDORRA'S PRINCIPALITY

GEOGRAPHY

The Principality of Andorra is a small independent state sited in the heart of the mountain range of the Pyrenees between France and Spain.

It has a surface area of 468 square kilometres divided up administratively into the seven Parishes (municipalities):

  • Canillo
  • Encamp
  • Ordino
  • La Massana
  • Andorra la Vella
  • Sant Julià de Lòria
  • Escaldes-Engordany.

The Principality of Andorra has a population of 65,971 inhabitants of whom, apart from Andorran nationals, 4,384 are French, 27,588 are Spanish, 933 are British and 3,429 are of other nationalities.

It is a mountainous country and its highest peak, Coma Pedrosa, is 2,946 metres above sea level while its lowest point is at 840 metres. The climate is temperate with mean temperatures ranging from 2 to 15 degrees centigrade in winter, 15 degrees in spring, 25 to 35 in summer and 15 in autumn.

The official language of the Principality of Andorra is Catalan but most of the population is fluent in French, Spanish and English.

POLITICAL AND INSTITUCIONAL SYSTEM

The constitutional political system of the Principality of Andorra is that of a parliamentary co-principality. In plainer terms this means that the Principality of Andorra is an internationally recognized constitutional state, governed by a parliament ("The General Council"), an executive government and two co-princes who together are the indivisible head of state of the Principality of Andorra.

As an explanation of this particular historical legal structure which is specific to the institutional system of the Principality of Andorra we here copy the whole of articles 43.2 and 44.1 of the Constitution of the Principality of Andorra which was adopted by referendum on 14 March 1993.

Article 43.2: The Co-princes, an institution deriving from the Pareatges and their historical development, are solely in their persons the Bishop of Urgell and the President of the French Republic. Their powers, which derive from this Constitution, are equal. Each of them swears or promises to exercise his office in accordance with this Constitution.

Article 44.1: The Co-princes are the symbol and the guarantee of the permanence and continuity of Andorra and of its independence and the upholding of the traditional spirit of parity and balance in relations with the neighbouring states. They declare the agreement of the Andorran state when entering into international undertakings in accordance with this Constitution.

At international level the Principality of Andorra has been a member of the United Nations since 1993 and of the Council of Europe since 1994. In June 1990 the Principality of Andorra and the European Community signed an agreement on a partial customs union which has been in force since July 1991.

ECONOMY

The Andorran economy is based on tourism and services. In 2002 a total of 11,507,698 persons visited the Principality attracted by the exceptional natural environment, leisure activities available and the consumer prices which particularly for luxury and high added value products are more competitive than those in neighbouring countries.

Banking has an important place in Andorra which has seven banks: BANCA MORA-BANC INTERNACIONAL, BANCA REIG, BANCA PRIVADA D’ANDORRA, BANC AGRÍCOL I COMERCIAL, CAIXABANK, CRÈDIT ANDORRÀ and BANC DE SABADELL. One should note that BANK SECRET is rigorously applied in the Principality of Andorra.

Some handy figures

  • Consumer price increase for 2003: 2,88 %
  • Minimum guaranteed wage (2004) 783,47 euros.
  • Social security contributions: 13% paid by the employer and 6% by the employee.
  • Number of shops: 6086.
  • Import flow: 171,262,243,000 PTA
  • Export flow: 6,690,597,000 PTA