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Andorra news for Cynics. The EU accord gets agreed.

How Can I Help? > News Andorra > News 2023

The Archives from 2023  news around Andorra as it was!  Smart Urinals arrive as does David Cameron by name only


Let`s see what happened or in most cases what has not!

December 14th, 2023. The latest new phrase “De-Andorrafication”


The EU has given Andorra a Christmas present in the form of a final agreement on the special accord that is due to be signed early next year by the powers to be. There will then be a 6 month education and propaganda period before the referendum when we will be indoctrinated into why Andorra can no longer survive outside the benevolence of Brussels, not withstanding  that it has done very well for 900 years before the European coal and Community was founded and hijacked by the unelected unaccountables in Brussels. As mentioned in the previous article below, Monaco withdrew from the talks as they were unable to secure priority for their citizens in living and working, in other words sovereignty would be ceded to Brussels.  It is then rather strange how the Andorran team of experienced negotiators claim that this agreement actually “strengthens our sovereignty”. Really ?? I mean dream on!  What has Andorra been guaranteed then that Monaco failed to get on priority for its citizens?  And when the first test case is brought before the EU Court of “Justice” and the EU guarantees agreed in the accord are adjudged to be contrary to the EU founding principles, what then?  Public information on this “negotiation” to date has been pitiful we will have to wait for the megaphones and sirens during the education boot camp Andorra 2024. Incidentally this new phrase Desandorraficació or “De-Andorrafication” has arisen from a couple of minor political parties in Andorra who are opposed to this agreement as it is not in the interest of Andorra, an interesting phrase for the dictionary!

October 24th 2023. So why did Monaco pull out of the EU talks?


It has not really been reported in Andorra why Monaco pulled out of the accord talks with the EU, so simple research states ;-
 
 
In the end of a frank and cordial exchange, the participants agreed on the impossibility of reconciling the demands of the European Union with the red lines established by (Monaco) from the opening of these discussions, which aim to ensure that current living, working and housing conditions for nationals and residents in the Principality continue as they are, with particular reference to the National Priority of Monegasques.
 
 
With Andorra and San Marino steaming ahead, surely it seems there must logically have been no such red lines or if there were they were quite quickly erased as seems the case. A bit of a worry maybe?? Surely any "debate" if there are any then the first question would be " Can you explain then why Monaco pulled out?" Swiftly followed by " so why is Andorra any different?"

6 September, 2023, a temporary moratorium on foreign investment approval for properties


Over the past few years Andorra has experienced a considerable increase in earthquakes which most probably has been triggered by the amount of construction and concrete causing downward pressure on the tectonic plates. There is an emergency law being voted on this very afternoon which will come into effect tomorrow to place a moratorium on all new foreign investment applications for property acquisitions. This is a temporary moratorium during which time the relevant government departments are required to come up with proposals in order to tighten foreign investmentbut it is understood that if a deposit and purchase contract have already been finalised on a property development they will not be affected.
In effect what this means is that a non-resident as of today will no longer be able to seek approval to purchase property in Andorra, at least for a temporary period. For those people seeking a property for a residency application then it looks as if the residency will have to come first as once you are a resident there is no need for foreign investment approval. That in itself conjures up difficulties with having to rent a temporary address in order to get residency,  a little bit more work to do but eminently doable.
More will be known over the coming weeks, in the meantime, rather than earthquake prevention it is to stop property speculation since off the plan properties have been changing hands prior to completion and other shenanigans endemic to property greed. Whether or not it is an unwelcome interference in market forces as per some of the feedback,  what those in power may not realise is that if the accord which is being negotiated with the EU is passed in a referendum the government will have no such powers whatsoever..... Just another thought!!

August 2023 Catalan obligatory exam causing unease.....


The minister Of  Culture and Sport has announced the entry into Parliament on 19 September, 2023 of a new law proposal that will require an obligatory basic level of Catalan for renewal of residency permits. Some years ago I did use this is an April Fools' Day joke which caught some people out in a panic,
There is however no need for panic since this apparently refers to the renewal of work permits (unless you have a work permit!) and in no way relates to passive residents or those active with company formation.
There are apparently 3000 residents affected with work permits who will have the choice, once they have ramped up the language centres by four or five more teachers, to either attend a course of 30 lessons or to go straight to an interview. It must be stressed that this is a very basic level.
Most likely these proposals will be pulled apart in the parliamentary process as this is going to cause even more chaos to an immigration that cannot cope with the current requirements. Also local feedback is very much against further aggravating the shortage of labour. It has been reported that the Balearic government has just cancelled all Catalan requirements for medical staff. Currently in Andorra those applying for medical positions in Andorra must have a very high level proficiency in Catalan. There are obvious negative reasons for demanding such a level of Catalan when it is barely spoken in the hospital with the patients.  Other feedback appears quite angry that the government is doing so little to alleviate the accommodation availability rather than concentrating on this rather useless area of requirement for foreign workers.
For the moment the subject will remain firmly bedded in Cynics Corner, let us see how the parliamentary process goes and what the final recommendations (if any) are.

July 2023 EU accord, The end of Police Certificates??


One of the areas currently under “negotiation” with the EU in the special accord that Andorra thinks it can “negotiate” is the freedom of movement of people. Now this is a fundamental principle of the EU, and this was made quite clear when the Andorran “negotiators “sat down at the table and demanded that Andorra control who lives in their country and who doesn’t, for example having to produce a police certificate. The EU side immediately pointed out that that is not possible (of course!!) So, Andorra has offered the EU to consider a mere signed declaration, which in fact already is part of the Immigration papers.  The reason why I have put negotiate in inverted commas, is that it is well known that the EU does not negotiate it just wants control, and it is quite clear that Andorra is already prepared to hand that over.  And it wants control of all the areas of negotiation so that in effect in the future once however many referendums it takes to get the right answer it can just scratch off this great pimple on the bottom of Europe that has been annoying it for so long. ( I´d better put my tin helmet on!)

May 2023... David Cameron gets a mention as Brexit plays on the minds of Government's EU referendum


In his opening address to the new Parliament ministers the head of Government Espot outlined potential issues of the outcome of any referendum and referred to the examples of David Cameron where Espot opines that he was able to "control" the Scottish independence bid but Brexit ending up dooming him ( presumably because he was not able to "control" that referendum).  This word "control" conjures up Orwellian undertones and one wonders what "control" will be required for this referendum in what is an enthusiastic pro EU Government, I have not received such enthusiasm in recent casual conversations with José Publico.  I suppose at some stage the "control" will be forthcoming and as Espot pointed out this is not a 4 year term for a yes vote but a 50 year determination of the economic and social life here. Perhaps that is an admission that "control" will pass to Bristles, after all Bristles is all about control, and not toleration of the people of a micro mountain state, that has enjoyed neutrality and non interference for over 1300 years.....(Quote 2016).


April 2023 Arinsal, the petition and the function of the Comú


The online signature petition has seen almost 2000 signatures voicing their support to what would be a 32,000 m² building project right underneath the cable car at the base of Arinsal and opposite to the old historic centre of Arinsal. This would in effect virtually treble the population of Arinsal at a time when the whole of Andorra seem to be tiring of these what appear to be  uncontrolled developments turning the mountains into concrete.  What is more worrying is that the response from the Comú was in effect that there is nothing they can do if the plans comply with building requirements. That has led people to comment as to what is the Comú's function?  Whereas in most countries building permissions include feedback and often hearings from concerned parties such as Joe public, this is not seen to be the case in Andorra. Perhaps as it is election year that is something these politicians can look at because clearly the tide of opinion is growing against construction companies. The central government and some Comús have recently imposed new restrictions and building moratoriums but it seems every person and his dog shoved in their applications before the deadline which should see the construction industry cement over the rest of the country before we either run out of fields or run out of cement.

21 March 2023 - Now there are smart urinals


It was proudly announced that Andorra had received the first in the world ever smart urinal that can measure hydration and volume of urine, and here is a picture. It may be the first and the  last in the world,  as, as some people have commented, a mere look at your wee will determine what this "smart" urinal is designed for, a bit like smart scales that tell you you are fat.  The problem with severe dehydration is actually an inability to wee which sounds pretty self defeating. It also sounds rather a sexist invention for obvious reasons so stick with those "dumb" urinals and use your loaf (no pun intended). However,  it could be useful in a the loo of a bar where the "smart" analysis simply says you need to drink more, so get back to the bar.

1st April 2023 Carns a la Brasa to be banned...


From 1st January 2024 restaurants will no longer be allowed to operate open fires to cook the traditional meat dish Carns a la Brasa. This is part of the drive to make Andorra carbon neutral by 2030. The chairman of Andorra Restaurant Association called the decision outrageous but admitted that the emissions from chimneys may be the reason for the melting snows.  He added that there were probably enough alternatives to satisfy customers such as salads and soups. Farmers have also been advised that emissions from cows need to be controlled and that similar to tobacco quotas, there will be cow herd quotas.  In any case with the impending ban on restaurants cooking meat, the farmers fear for the future after 950 years of Andorran valley grazing.

March 2023, The EU referendum, what on earth would happen if Andorra voted no??


The government has decided to commit itself to a study of what on earth would happen in the event that the Andorran population voted no in the referendum that they have promised on this association/accord which is being negotiated by Brussels and the micro-states. Andorra politicians need to understand that if the EU has anything to say on this matter we will simply be told to vote again until they get the answer that they want, it's as simple as that no need for a study!!!

March 2023 La Massana bypass, casino, it's all happening….


The La Massana bypass has been a dream in the planning stage since the early 2000s, only beaten in history by plans for a casino which have their roots way back in the 1980s. Unfortunately the casino is now open but the bypass isn't. For an update on the casino please refer to the dedicated page here. For those enthusiasts who are desperately waiting for the La Massana bypass it is now back on the agenda although take it with a pinch of salt because it is election year. La Massana has found a way to what was the initial budget of EUR62 million down to a mere EUR20 million by ignoring the old plans which would have involved linking the large Anyós roundabout with tunnels and bridges and just cutting down near to where the petrol station is at the top of the hill up to La Massana. to the river valley below.  All they need to do is convince all of those landowners in the La Massana Valley, get the funding and hey presto we have a new route to Arinsal and Ordino. Having been over 20 years in the planning and being put off it is now as we all know an absolute necessity for the relief of traffic in La Massana.
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