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The Archives from 2017 news around Andorra as it was!

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

13th December - Taxes set to rise in 2018...

I thought that might get some attention, and it is only true if you have a dog!! There is a proposal that pet owners now be charged for the privilege of having a doggy on the grounds that it is becoming an increasing financial burden to keep cleaning the pavements and common areas. It is also considered that "offenders" will be more readily reported,  no s**t!

12th December 2017 - Are the Spanish boycotting Catalan ski resorts ????

Interestingly it has been suggested to me, nothing official of course, that the reason for the recent almost unprecedented 100% occupation rates at many hotels during the recent public holidays was that the Spanish, so incensed about the recent Catalunya Independence bid are giving the Catalan ski resorts a wide berth. Not sure about whether this claim holds any water or not but it would make a good tabloid news headline grabber " Spanish boycott Catalan ski resorts in favour of Andorra" It would be interesting to see the figures for La Molina and Baqueira for example !

1st December 2017 - The Casino, 9 bidders, 5 Andorran participators.

The bids are open for operating the wonderful new casino in Andorra, first planned in 1985. The law changes are underway, venues are being proposed such at the Caldea, a new 3 storey bulding, Congress building and so on. Five of the nine bids so far have Andorran participation including the Cierco brothers currently under criminal process for the failure of BPA (see articles on BPA). Well that sums things up really.

9th March 2017:  Number of Passive Residency Appprovals reaches all time high.

The Government announced yesterday the approval  of a further 600 passive residency places since the last quota issued in February 2016 has been nearly exhausted. I have included in the chart the growth of approvals over the past few years in accordance with the figures. Please note that ONE authorisation means per family unit so a family of five is one place for these purposes. With that in mind the total of 1,546 approvals since the law changed in July 2012 represents a passive resident population now suggested by official figures to be  3,097 persons all included. The breakdown in Nationalities is given as Spanish (913), British (479), French (429) and Russians (317) and these represent the majority populations.

22nd February 2017: Football: Andorra v San Marino, statistically the worlds worst teams meet in an epic decider.

Andorra is rated by FIFA as 203 in the world ( There are only 196 countries!), San Marino are rated as 202, only these countries are rated below: British Virgin Islands, Anguilla, Bahamas, Djibouti, Eritrea, Gibraltar, Somalia and Tonga. Andorra has 86 international games under its belt without a win, the longest run by anyone in history, San Marino have gone 74 games without a win.  It is 4,515 days since Andorra won a game, not as long as San Marino at 4,683 days! Tonight is the night when the two teams meet to battle for glory and the wooden spoon....watch this space, it may well be a draw !!

66 mins ...San Marino 0   Andorra 2
FT:  we did it 2:0 !!  Andorra is now until the next football international the only team to have won a match!!!

17th January 2017:  French Consulate mission to close completely in Andorra  

Further to the editorial below concerning the waning of French influence in Andorra comes the bombshell announcement that the consulate here is to close completely from 31st August 2017 with consular processes being split between Barcelona (admin) and Madrid ( For visas etc). The usual "diplomatic speak" talks of a worldwide re-organisation of consular priorities", but the fact remains that there will be no representation in Andorra for the 2,750 French nationals living here who make up the third larest expatriate population in Andorra behind the Spanish and Portuguese. France is a Co-Prince of Andorra with important constitutional priorities (granted that this reponsibility is not actually routed through the Consular Mission) but the announcement appears a strange move given that there are more and more consulates opening in Andorra such as the Philippines, 390 registered nationals, Russia, 430, Italy, 332 and so on ( Total of 16 consulates not including France or Spain). To attend at the French Consulate currently for an administrative signature often required in the process of passive residency applications, requires an online booking with up to a week waiting list, it's not as if they have nothing to do here ?

28th January 2017 - Climate change, the cloud may be no more..

Andorra Telecom's grandiose ideas to build a futuristic building on their old site in Andorra La Vella called The Cloud is in real danger of being blown away.( see below articles for details). The building planned for 14 floors in a modern design with shops and technology bases inside. Also it has been earmarked for possible housing the new casino ( which has been planned since Charlemagne times). The cost has now risen from the 30 million envisaged in 2014 to 44 million euros, something which Andorra Telecom is now trying to wriggle out of at a crucial moment when their income is being severely slashed by the EU agreement to ban roaming charges. The second part of the demolition of the plot that houses the Fire Brigade has now also been put back to 2020, so with deadlines extending and cold feet appearing the whole project may well not go ahead.  The author is not sure how and why the casino became involved in the building project, but no-one seems to want it on their doorstep.

25th January 2017: French presence and influence decline in Andorra  causes alarm bells in French circles.

Recent statistics have revelaed a steady decline in French influence in Andorra as Andorra leans increasingly towards its other neighbour, Spain. As always appraently the fault lies with the Government for not correcting this trend given that Andorra always looks to France for assistance at high levels for infrastructure, EU relations, Heliports, and techical studies. Running contrary to these claims though is that the number of French nationals living here in 2016 increased by 4.7% to 2,968 persons out of a global resident population of 73,105. This figure for the French however is markedly below historical levels and the drop below 3000 caused the French to restructure and reduce their embassy presence in Andorra and they have already sold the embassy building. A spokesman for the French criticised why Andorra always appointed only Spanish judges to assist in trials here. Historically, imports to Andorra from France do show a declining trend compared to Spain, and even China, as in the chart attached, but on this point there must be blame on the RN-20 and the lack of access and ease at which the French close the pass, a bit like when the wrong type of snow falls in the UK.

23rd January 2017 - The EU forgets Andorra yet again in the Schengen visa system.

The Government has denied that Andorra was left off the new Schengen database that is being created to monitor those in the whole Schengen area known as ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorisation System). Failure to be included would mean that all Andorrans and residents would need a Schengen visa to get out of the country (Not that the border is really monitored). Apparently it is all a misunderstanding from an incorrect source and the Government has assured us that we are in official EU lists and will be included.
...phew !!

23rd January 2017 - More financial problems at Naturlandia.

The financially troubled park in Sant Jùlia called Naturlandia which has been the subject before in these news articles has announced an operating deficit for 2016 of 1 million euros. If you add to that the accumulated losses of 23.4 millions you can see what a success the operation of the park has been. In order to get some financial cushion from a meeting last summer with the Comú an assurance was given that the financial loss for 2016 was going to be 117,000 euros. Just how in the spate of a few months that grew to a million euros defies belief. At that same meeting it was suggested that in the coming years Naturlandia would even start making a profit ! It was recently also announced that the park would now close every May and November,  and every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the year. This apparently was recommended by KPMG who have conducted a study  (How much did that cost !!?). With this great plan it means that they can reduce the staff from 70 to 50 ( remember that compared to other parks in other countries there are twice as many staff already). It does mean however with that the park is open for only 200 days per year, hardly a plan when you look at the 165 days or so a year that it is closed, sounds similar to closing your restaurant for lunch !! Reducing the staff from 70 to 50 may save 240,000 euros a year and measured against the additional days closed, it seems like a suicide pact.
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