Andorra is a principality, with its status as an independent state. The country is located in southwestern Europe, on the southern slope of the eastern Pyrenees. Andorra has no coastline and borders France and Spain. With its present borders, Andorra is one of Europe’s oldest states. Andorra is often referred to as one of Europe’s “small putt countries”.
In 1921 El Gran Carlemany (The Great Karl the Great) became the national anthem. The text is written by Juan Benlloch y Vivó. Enric Marfany Bons has written the tune.
Geography and environment
With an area of 468 km 2 Andorra is the size of the municipality of Oslo. The country is located in the Pyrenees mountain range. Rough mountains dominate the landscape, with 65 peaks over 2000 meters in height. The highest mountain is Pic de la Pedrosa at 2943 meters above sea level, while the lowest point is Gran Valira at 840 meters above sea level. With a length of 35 kilometers, Vilara is the most important river. It flows into Ebro, Spain.
Andorra’s climate has many similarities to the climate of neighboring countries, France and Spain, but the country has some cooler summers and some more snow due to the mountain landscape.
The Madriu-Perafita-Claror cultural landscape is a valley in Andorra that is listed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
People and society
Andorra’s population is 85,708 (2018). In 2018, the population was reduced by 0.01 per cent. The birth and death rates per 1000 inhabitants are 7.3 and 7.4 respectively. The number of children per woman is 1.41 (2018). 88 percent of the population lives in urban areas. The capital of Andorra la Vella is the most densely populated.
Life expectancy is 85.3 years for women and 80.7 years for men. 45.27 per cent of the population is in the age group 25 to 54 years (2018).
88.2 percent of the population belongs to the Catholic Church. Catalan is an official language, but it is also spoken in Castilian, French and Portuguese.
In 1973, the country introduced voting rights for women.
State and politics
Andorra became a parliamentary democracy in 1993. The country is a princely state and has its own head of government, but Spain and France are responsible for the country’s foreign policy. The head of state is the president of France and the bishop of Urgel in Spain. These have local representatives in Andorra, but do not have veto rights.
In the April 2019 elections, the Democratic Party for Andorra (DA) lost the majority in parliament, but remained the largest party. Together with the party Units per al Progrés, the Andorra (DA) Domorates formed a new majority government with Xavier Espot Zamora as prime minister.
Andorra is divided into seven parishes (Parròquies). Each parish is administered by a people-elected municipal council.
France and Spain have military responsibility for Andorra, and the country has no defense of its own. Andorra is not a member of the EU, but has its own agreements for duty-free goods. The country is a member of the UN, the Council of Europe, the ICC and the OSCE.
Andorra regained his freedom from Charlemagne in 819 AD, after many years of war against the Moors. Andorra was in the period 1278–1993 a principality divided between Spain and France. During World War II, the country was an escape route for Allied forces and for Jews persecuted by Gestapo. By a new constitution in 1993, the country became an independent state with principality as state form.
Economy and business
Andorra’s gross domestic product (GDP) increased by 1.6 per cent in 2018 against 1.7 per cent in 2017. In 2018, GDP per capita amounted to USD 42,487. Unemployment is 3.7 percent (2016).
Andorra had a long standing as a tax haven. Andorra’s trade and cooperation agreement with the EU, however, has led the Andorra government to practice a more transparent tax policy. Following strong pressure from France, an income tax of maximum 10 per cent was introduced in 2018.
In 2009, the Andorra government agreed on extended cooperation with several countries on the exchange of financial information. In 2012, Norway and Andorra signed an agreement on the exchange of tax information.
The service industries contribute 54.5 per cent of the country’s GDP and employ 95.1 per cent of the working population. The tourism industry is important. Around ten million tourists visit the country every year. The banking and finance sector is well developed and of importance for foreign investment. The country’s currency is the euro.
Agriculture contributes 11.9 per cent of the country’s GDP and employs 0.5 per cent of the working population (2015). The industry contributes 33.6 per cent of the country’s GDP and employs 4.4 per cent of the working population (2015).
Knowledge and culture
The educational system in Andorra is divided, and there are Catalan, Spanish (Castilian) and French schools.
Andorra university Universitat d’Andorra was founded in 1997. The university offers including Bachelor programs in nursing, teacher training and business administration.
Andorra has one state television channel and two public radio channels. The digital network is well developed.