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Andorra Country Information

Travel Advice with Country Information from the CIA.

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Andorra Map

Introduction

Background

The landlocked Principality of Andorra is one of the smallest states in Europe, nestled high in the Pyrenees between the French and Spanish borders. For 715 years, from 1278 to 1993, Andorrans lived under a unique coprincipality, ruled by French and Spanish leaders (from 1607 onward, the French chief of state and the Bishop of Urgell). In 1993, this feudal system was modified with the introduction of a modern constitution; the co-princes remained as titular heads of state, but the government transformed into a parliamentary democracy.

Andorra has become a popular tourist destination visited by approximately 8 million people each year drawn by the winter sports, summer climate, and duty-free shopping. Andorra has also become a wealthy international commercial center because of its mature banking sector and low taxes. As part of its effort to modernize its economy, Andorra has opened to foreign investment, and engaged in other reforms, such as advancing tax initiatives aimed at supporting a broader infrastructure. Although not a member of the EU, Andorra enjoys a special relationship with the bloc that is governed by various customs and cooperation agreements and uses the euro as its national currency.

Geography

Location

Southwestern Europe, Pyrenees mountains, on the border between France and Spain

Geographic coordinates

42 30 N, 1 30 E

Map references

Europe

Area

total: 468 sq km

land: 468 sq km

water: 0 sq km

country comparison to the world: 195

Area - comparative

2.5 times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries

total: 118 km

border countries (2): France 55 km, Spain 63 km

Coastline

0 km (landlocked)

Maritime claims

none (landlocked)

Climate

temperate; snowy, cold winters and warm, dry summers

Terrain

rugged mountains dissected by narrow valleys

Elevation

mean elevation: 1,996 m

lowest point: Riu Runer 840 m

highest point: Pic de Coma Pedrosa 2,946 m

Natural resources

hydropower, mineral water, timber, iron ore, lead

Land use

agricultural land: 40% (2018 est.)

arable land: 1.7% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 38.3% (2018 est.)

forest: 34% (2018 est.)

other: 26% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

0 sq km (2012)

Population distribution

population is unevenly distributed and is concentrated in the seven urbanized valleys that make up the country's parishes (political administrative divisions)

Natural hazards

avalanches

Environment - current issues

deforestation; overgrazing of mountain meadows contributes to soil erosion; air pollution; wastewater treatment and solid waste disposal

Environment - international agreements

party to: Biodiversity, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - note

landlocked; straddles a number of important crossroads in the Pyrenees

People and Society

Population

85,645 (July 2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 199

Nationality

noun: Andorran(s)

adjective: Andorran

Ethnic groups

Andorran 48.8%, Spanish 25.1%, Portuguese 12%, French 4.4%, other 9.7% (2017 est.)

note: data represent population by nationality

Languages

Catalan (official), French, Castilian, Portuguese

Religions

Roman Catholic (predominant)

Government

Country name

conventional long form: Principality of Andorra

conventional short form: Andorra

local long form: Principat d'Andorra

local short form: Andorra

etymology: the origin of the country's name is obscure; the name may derive from the Arabic "ad-darra" meaning "the forest," a reference to its location as part of the Spanish March (defensive buffer zone) against the invading Moors in the 8th century

Government type

parliamentary democracy (since March 1993) that retains its chiefs of state in the form of a co-principality; the two princes are the President of France and Bishop of Seu d'Urgell, Spain

Capital

name: Andorra la Vella

geographic coordinates: 42 30 N, 1 31 E

time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October

etymology: translates as "Andorra the Old" in Catalan

Administrative divisions

7 parishes (parroquies, singular - parroquia); Andorra la Vella, Canillo, Encamp, Escaldes-Engordany, La Massana, Ordino, Sant Julia de Loria

Independence

1278 (formed under the joint sovereignty of the French Count of Foix and the Spanish Bishop of Urgell)

National holiday

Our Lady of Meritxell Day, 8 September (1278)

Constitution

history: drafted 1991, approved by referendum 14 March 1993, effective 28 April 1993

amendments: proposed by the coprinces jointly or by the General Council; passage requires at least a two-thirds majority vote by the General Council, ratification in a referendum, and sanctioning by the coprinces (2021)

Legal system

mixed legal system of civil and customary law with the influence of canon (religious) law

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction

Citizenship

citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: the mother must be an Andorran citizen or the father must have been born in Andorra and both parents maintain permanent residence in Andorra

dual citizenship recognized: no

residency requirement for naturalization: 25 years

Suffrage

18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: Co-prince Emmanuel MACRON (since 14 May 2017); represented by Patrick STROZDA (since 14 May 2017); and Co-prince Archbishop Joan-Enric VIVES i Sicilia (since 12 May 2003); represented by Josep Maria MAURI (since 20 July 2012)

head of government: Head of Government (or Cap de Govern) Xaviar Espot ZAMORA (since 16 May 2019)

cabinet: Executive Council of 12 ministers designated by the head of government

elections/appointments: head of government indirectly elected by the General Council (Andorran parliament), formally appointed by the coprinces for a 4-year term; election last held on 7 April 2019 (next to be held in April 2023); the leader of the majority party in the General Council is usually elected head of government

election results: Xaviar Espot ZAMORA (DA) elected head of government; percent of General Council vote - 60.7%

Legislative branch

description: unicameral General Council of the Valleys or Consell General de les Valls (a minimum of 28 seats; 14 members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies (parishes) by simple majority vote and 14 directly elected in a single national constituency by proportional representation vote; members serve 4-year terms); note - voters cast two separate ballots - one for a national list and one for a parish list

elections: last held on 7 April 2019 (next to be held on April 2023)

election results: percent of vote by party - DA 35.1%, PS 30.6%, L'A 12.5%, Third Way/Lauredian Union 10.4%, other 22.4%; seats by party - DA 11, PS 7, L'A 4, Third Way/Lauredian Union 4, other 2; composition - men 14, women 14, percent of women 50%

Judicial branch

highest courts: Supreme Court of Justice of Andorra or Tribunal Superior de la Justicia d'Andorra (consists of the court president and 8 judges organized into civil, criminal, and administrative chambers); Constitutional Court or Tribunal Constitucional (consists of 4 magistrates)

judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court president and judges appointed by the Supreme Council of Justice, a 5-member judicial policy and administrative body appointed 1 each by the coprinces, 1 by the General Council, 1 by the executive council president, and 1 by the courts; judges serve 6-year renewable terms; Constitutional magistrates - 2 appointed by the coprinces and 2 by the General Council; magistrates' appointments limited to 2 consecutive 8-year terms

subordinate courts: Tribunal of Judges or Tribunal de Batlles; Tribunal of the Courts or Tribunal de Corts

Political parties and leaders

Democrats for Andorra or DA [Xaviar ESPOT ZAMORA]
Social Democratic Party or PS [Vicenc ALFY FERRER]
Liberals of Andorra or L'A [Jordi GALLARDO FERNANDEZ]
Third Way/Lauredian Union [Josep PINTAT FORNE]
Social Democracy and Progress or SDP [Victor NAUDI ZAMORA]
United for the Progress of Andorra or UPA [Alfons CLAVERA ARIZTI]

note: Andorra has several smaller parties at the parish level (one is Lauredian Union)

International organization participation

CE, FAO, ICAO, ICC (NGOs), ICCt, ICRM, IFRCS, Interpol, IOC, IPU, ITU, OIF, OPCW, OSCE, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, Union Latina, UNWTO, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WTO (observer)

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Elisenda VIVES BALMANA (since 2 March 2016)

chancery: 2 United Nations Plaza, 27th Floor, New York, NY 10017

telephone: [1] (212) 750-8064

FAX: [1] (212) 750-6630

Diplomatic representation from the US

embassy: the US does not have an embassy in Andorra; the US ambassador to Spain is accredited to Andorra; US interests in Andorra are represented by the US Consulate General's office in Barcelona (Spain); mailing address: Paseo Reina Elisenda de Montcada, 23, 08034 Barcelona, Spain; telephone: [34] (93) 280-2227; FAX: [34] (93) 280-6175

Flag description

three vertical bands of blue (hoist side), yellow, and red, with the national coat of arms centered in the yellow band; the latter band is slightly wider than the other 2 so that the ratio of band widths is 8:9:8; the coat of arms features a quartered shield with the emblems of (starting in the upper left and proceeding clockwise): Urgell, Foix, Bearn, and Catalonia; the motto reads VIRTUS UNITA FORTIOR (Strength United is Stronger); the flag combines the blue and red French colors with the red and yellow of Spain to show Franco-Spanish protection

note: similar to the flags of Chad and Romania, which do not have a national coat of arms in the center, and the flag of Moldova, which does bear a national emblem

National symbol(s)

red cow (breed unspecified); national colors: blue, yellow, red

National anthem

name: "El Gran Carlemany" (The Great Charlemagne)

lyrics/music: Joan BENLLOCH i VIVO/Enric MARFANY BONS

note: adopted 1921; the anthem provides a brief history of Andorra in a first person narrative

Economy

Economic overview

Andorra has a developed economy and a free market, with per capita income above the European average and above the level of its neighbors, Spain and France. The country has developed a sophisticated infrastructure including a one-of-a-kind micro-fiber-optic network for the entire country. Tourism, retail sales, and finance comprise more than three-quarters of GDP. Duty-free shopping for some products and the country’s summer and winter resorts attract millions of visitors annually. Andorra uses the euro and is effectively subject to the monetary policy of the European Central Bank. Andorra's comparative advantage as a tax haven eroded when the borders of neighboring France and Spain opened and the government eased bank secrecy laws under pressure from the EU and OECD.

Agricultural production is limited - only about 5% of the land is arable - and most food has to be imported, making the economy vulnerable to changes in fuel and food prices. The principal livestock is sheep. Manufacturing output and exports consist mainly of perfumes and cosmetic products, products of the printing industry, electrical machinery and equipment, clothing, tobacco products, 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.

To provide incentives for growth and diversification in the economy, the Andorran government began sweeping economic reforms in 2006. The Parliament approved three laws to complement the first phase of economic openness: on companies (October 2007), on business accounting (December 2007), and on foreign investment (April 2008 and June 2012). From 2011 to 2015, the Parliament also approved direct taxes in the form of taxes on corporations, on individual incomes of residents and non-residents, and on capital gains, savings, and economic activities. These regulations aim to establish a transparent, modern, and internationally comparable regulatory framework, in order to attract foreign investment and businesses that offer higher value added.

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 44,050

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 51.41 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 160

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 97,645

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 113.96 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 193

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: modern automatic telephone system; broadband Internet and LTE mobile lines for both consumer and enterprise customers available (2019)

domestic: 51 per 100 fixed-line, 113 per 100 mobile-cellular (2019)

international: country code - 376; landline circuits to France and Spain; modern system with microwave radio relay connections between exchanges (2019)

note: the COVID-19 outbreak is negatively impacting telecommunications production and supply chains globally; consumer spending on telecom devices and services has also slowed due to the pandemic's effect on economies worldwide; overall progress towards improvements in all facets of the telecom industry - mobile, fixed-line, broadband, submarine cable and satellite - has moderated

Broadcast media

1 public TV station and 2 public radio stations; about 10 commercial radio stations; good reception of radio and TV broadcasts from stations in France and Spain; upgraded to terrestrial digital TV broadcasting in 2007; roughly 25 international TV channels available (2019)

Internet country code

.ad

Internet users

total: 78,483

percent of population: 91.57% (July 2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 182

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 35,663

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 42 (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 139

Transportation

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

C3 (2016)

Roadways

total: 320 km (2019)

country comparison to the world: 201

Military and Security

Military and security forces

no regular military forces; Police Corps of Andorra (2021)

Military - note

defense is the responsibility of France and Spain

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

none

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