Andorra–European Union relations

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Andorran–European relations
Map indicating locations of European Union and Andorra

European Union

Andorra

Andorran–European relations are based on a customs union between Andorra and the European Union (EU).

Customs Union[edit]

Further information: European Union Customs Union

The "Agreement between the European Economic Community and the Principality of Andorra" (signed 28 June 1990, entered into force 1 July 1991) establishes a customs union with most favoured nation status between the Principality and the EU. Andorra is treated as an EU state where trade in manufactured goods is concerned, but not for agricultural produce.[1]

There are full customs checks on the EU side of the border, as Andorra has low VAT and other indirect taxes, such as those for alcohol, tobacco and petrol, from which visitors might benefit.

Euro[edit]

Main article: Andorra and the euro

Andorra has a monetary agreement with the EU allowing it to make the euro its official currency, and permitting it to issue euro coins as early as 1 July 2013. They plan to issue their first coins on 1 January 2014.[2][3] In October 2012, Jordi Cinca, Andorra's Minister of Finance, stated that 1 January 2014 was a more likely date to start issuing euros due to delays in adopting the legislation required by the monetary agreement.[4] In February 2013, the Director of the Mint of Andorra Jordi Puigdemasa confirmed that Andorra would not begin issuing euros until 1 January 2014.[2][3] However, since the EU did not give their approval to begin minting the coins until December 2013, their release was delayed,[5] with Minister of Culture Albert Esteve stating that he was optimistic they would be released by March or April 2014.[6]

Other agreements[edit]

Two other agreements were signed in 2003/4. The first is a cooperation agreement covering the environment, communications, information, culture, transport, regional and cross-border co-operation and social issues.[1] However this has seen few operational results so far.[7] There is also a taxation of savings agreement[1] which was signed following pressure from the EU on offshore financial centres to conform to EU standards.[7]

Schengen[edit]

Andorra has stayed outside the Schengen Agreement and maintains border controls with the EU. However as travellers to Andorra have to pass through the Schengen Area, and Andorra does not issue any visas, but accepts Schengen visas, Andorra is in practice a virtual part of the area. Third country nationals wishing to visit Andorra need a multi-entry Schengen visa, since to leave Andorra they must enter the Schengen area a second time.

Future integration[edit]

In November 2012, after the Council of the European Union had called for an evaluation of the EU's relations with the sovereign European microstates of Andorra, Monaco and San Marino, which they described as "fragmented",[8] the European Commission published a report outlining options for their further integration into the EU.[9] Unlike Liechtenstein, which is a member of the European Economic Area (EEA) via the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and the Schengen Agreement, relations with these three states are based on a collection of agreements covering specific issues. The report examined four alternatives to the current situation: 1) a Sectoral Approach with separate agreements with each state covering an entire policy area, 2) a comprehensive, multilateral Framework Association Agreement (FAA) with the three states, 3) EEA membership, and 4) EU membership. The Commission argued that the sectoral approach did not address the major issues and was still needlessly complicated, while EU membership was dismissed in the near future because "the EU institutions are currently not adapted to the accession of such small-sized countries." The remaining options, EEA membership and a FAA with the states, were found to be viable and were recommended by the Commission. In response, the Council requested that negotiations with the three microstates on further integration continue, and that a report be prepared by the end of 2013 detailing the implications of the two viable alternatives and recommendations on how to proceed.[10]

As EEA membership is currently only open to EFTA or EU members, the consent of existing EFTA member states is required for the microstates to join the EEA without becoming members of the EU. In 2011, Jonas Gahr Støre, the then Foreign Minister of Norway which is an EFTA member state, said that EFTA/EEA membership for the microstates was not the appropriate mechanism for their integration into the internal market due to their different requirements than large countries such as Norway, and suggested that a simplified association would be better suited for them.[11] Espen Barth Eide, Støre's successor, responded to the Commission's report in late 2012 by questioning whether the microstates have sufficient administrative capabilities to meet the obligations of EEA membership. However, he stated that Norway was open to the possibility of EFTA membership for the microstates if they decide to submit an application, and that the country had not made a final decision on the matter.[12][13][14][15] Pascal Schafhauser, the Counsellor of the Liechtenstein Mission to the EU, said that Liechtenstein, another EFTA member state, was willing to discuss EEA membership for the microstates provided their joining did not impede the functioning of the organization. However, he suggested that the option direct membership in the EEA for the microstates, outside of both the EFTA and the EU, should be given consideration.[14]

On 18 November 2013 the EU Commission published their report which concluded that "the participation of the small-sized countries in the EEA is not judged to be a viable option at present due to the political and institutional reasons", but that Association Agreements were a more feasible mechanism to integrate the microstates into the internal market, preferably via a single multilateral agreement with all three states.[16]

Membership[edit]

Deepening Andorra's relationship with the EU generally requires compliance with the EU's four freedoms (only goods is achieved) together with fiscal and financial sector reforms to EU standards (removing its tax haven reputation).[7] The government has said that "for the time being" there is no need to join the EU;[17] however, the governing Social Democratic Party is in favour.[citation needed]. Despite this, there are Andorra "EU-Star" signs at the border.[18]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Principality of Andorra, European External Action Service
  2. ^ a b "The government announces a contest for the design of the Andorran euros". Andorra Mint. 2013-03-19. Retrieved 2013-03-26. 
  3. ^ a b "Nouvelles d'Andorre" (in French). 2013-02-01. Retrieved 2013-02-02. 
  4. ^ "Cinca preveu que Andorra pugui començar a emetre euros el gener del 2014". 2012-10-03. Retrieved 2012-11-23. 
  5. ^ Poy, Ricard (2013-12-11). "Govern fixarà límits per a l’adquisició dels euros andorrans". Diari d'Andorra. Retrieved 2013-12-19. 
  6. ^ "De les peces de coure a l’euro propi, el procés d’emissió de moneda a Andorra". Bondia. 2013-12-17. Archived from the original on 2013-12-24. Retrieved 2013-12-17. 
  7. ^ a b c Emerson, Michael (2007) Andorra and the European Union, (PDF) Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS)
  8. ^ "Council conclusions on EU relations with EFTA countries". Council of the European Union. 2012-12-14. Retrieved 2013-04-01. 
  9. ^ "Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee of the Regions - EU Relations with the Principality of Andorra, the Principality of Monaco and the Republic of San Marino - Options for Closer Integration with the EU". 2012. 
  10. ^ "Council conclusions on EU relations with the Principality of Andorra, the Republic of San Marino and the Principality of Monaco". Council of the European Union. 2012-12-20. Retrieved 2013-04-01. 
  11. ^ "Norge sier nei til nye mikrostater i EØS". 2011-05-19. Retrieved 2013-04-06. 
  12. ^ "Innlegg på møte i Stortingets europautvalg". Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway. 2013-01-28. Retrieved 2013-04-01. 
  13. ^ "Eide: Bedre blir det ikke". 2012-12-21. Retrieved 2013-04-01. 
  14. ^ a b Aalberg Undheim, Eva (2012-12-08). "Regjeringa open for diskutere EØS-medlemskap for mikrostatar" (in Norwegian). Retrieved 2013-04-06. 
  15. ^ "La Norvegia chiude le porte a San Marino". La Tribuna Sammarinese. 2013-01-03. p. 7. Retrieved 2013-04-06. 
  16. ^ "EU Relations with the Principality of Andorra, the Principality of Monaco and the Republic of San Marino: Options for their participation in the Internal Market". European Commission. 2013-11-18. Retrieved 2013-11-20. 
  17. ^ Finding Andorra's place in the world internationalspecialreports.com
  18. ^ https://www.google.com/maps?q=andorra&hl=en&ll=42.543469,1.735153&spn=0.149239,0.617294&sll=36.13427,-5.352745&sspn=0.090671,0.219727&hnear=Andorra&t=m&z=11&layer=c&cbll=42.543441,1.735313&panoid=4iHT7cf4XEWLX-L_bEB_Jw&cbp=11,342.82,,0,11.17

External links[edit]