Foreign relations of Liechtenstein
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Liechtenstein's foreign economic policy has been dominated by its customs union with Switzerland (and with Austria-Hungary until World War I). This union also led to its independent membership in the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) in 1991. Unlike Switzerland however (where citizens rejected membership in a referendum), Liechtenstein is part of the European Economic Area.
Liechtenstein has resorted two times to international dispute settlement by the International Court of Justice, in the Nottebohm (Liechtenstein v. Guatemala) case against Guatemala in the 1950s and in a case concerning art property of the Liechtenstein family against Germany in 2005. It lost in both cases.
Liechtenstein maintains resident embassies in Austria, Belgium, Germany, Holy See, Switzerland and the United States, along with a number of missions to international organisations. Under a 1919 agreement between Liechtenstein and Switzerland, ambassadors of Switzerland are authorised to represent Liechtenstein in countries and in diplomatic situations unless Liechtenstein opts to send its own ambassador.
Apart from Vatican City, Liechtenstein is the only country in the world not to host any embassy. There are, however, a number of honorary consulates in the principality. Most of these are situated in the capital Vaduz, however, some are found in Schaan, Schellenberg and Triesen.
International dispute with the Czech Republic and Slovakia
The country has an international dispute with the Czech Republic and Slovakia concerning the estates of its princely family in those countries. After World War II, Czechoslovakia, the predecessor of the Czech Republic and Slovakia, acting to seize what they considered to be German possessions, expropriated the entirety of the Liechtenstein dynasty's hereditary lands and possessions in Bohemia, Moravia, and Silesia which compose the Czech Republic. The expropriations (which were the subject of an unsuccessful court case brought by Liechtenstein in the German courts and the International Court of Justice) included over 1,600 km² (which is ten times the size of Liechtenstein) of agricultural and forest land mostly in Moravia, also including several family castles and palaces. An offer from the Czech Republic to return the palaces and castles (without the surrounding land) was rejected by Liechtenstein.
Liechtenstein recognised and established diplomatic relations with the Czech Republic on 13 July 2009 and with Slovakia on 9 December 2009. Liechtenstein's ruling prince, Hans-Adam II, has announced that the principality will take no further legal action to recover the appropriated assets.
Membership in international organizations
On 1 July 2007, Hans-Adam II and Liechtenstein's Prime Minister, Otmar Hasler, appointed Dr. Bruce S. Allen and Leodis C. Matthews, both in the United States of America, as the first two Honorary Consuls in history for the Principality of Liechtenstein. The U.S. does not maintain an embassy in Liechtenstein, and it is Switzerland's role to conduct and continue good relations between Switzerland, the U.S and the principality.
- Jorri Duursma, "Microstates: The Principality of Liechtenstein" in Christin Ingebritsen et al. (2006). Small States in International Relations. (University of Washington Press, Seattle) p. 89 at p. 124.
- Adams, Georgina (23 June 2010). "Czech-Liechtenstein cultural détente". The Art Newspaper.
- "Liechtenstein and the Czech Republic establish diplomatic relations" (PDF). Government Spokesperson’s Office, the Principality of Liechtenstein. 2009-07-13. Retrieved 2009-08-06.
- "Navázání diplomatických styků České republiky s Knížectvím Lichtenštejnsko" (in Czech). Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic. 2009-07-13. Retrieved 2010-09-27.
- "Liechtenstein and the Slovak Republic establish diplomatic relations" (PDF). Government Spokesperson’s Office, the Principality of Liechtenstein. 2009-12-09. Retrieved 2009-12-22.
- Participation of the Former Yugoslav States in the UN and multilateral Treaties
- Portal of the Principality of Liechtenstein - News & Statements