The Archives from 2021 news around Andorra as it was! The year that COVID continued to make significant effects
Let`s see what happened or in most cases what has not!
20th September 2021- Andorra's future coastal defences strengthened
One must congratulate at least one aspect of long-term Planning policy in Andorra and that is preparing for rising sea levels by increasing the average height of Andorran territory. Since 2004, each day 60-100 fully laden 15 tonne lorries have coughed and spluttered their way up through the tranquil villages of Anyòs and Aldosa and on up through forest above Anyòs. There, they offload their earth, concrete, and rubble from construction sites from the whole of Andorra which started in 2004 with the rubble from digging out the impressively congested then new tunnel from Anyòs to Encamp. So, there you can see that each lorry load dug out from down and transported up to the top of the mountain clearly increases the average height of the Andorra land mass. When sea levels rise and the NaGRUP warehouse becomes the changing rooms for the seaside at the Costa Del Frontera, Platja Duana we will all be relieved that planning foresight kept Andorra safely from rising sea levels. The dump was projected to be completed by 2014, 8 years ago and now still with at least a couple more years to go for long suffering residents of Anyòs and Aldosa. Next item will look at climate change in Aldosa and how a full tank of diesel is required for lorries to get to the dump up there.
29th July 2021- Naturlàndia sinking and may bring down the Comú of Sant Jùlia
This story I have followed for many years, the creative accounting, increasing liabilities, falls in income and visitors, so the continuation of opertaions post pandemic and the effect of covid closures (Remember they forgot to ERTO the staff) has really put the nail in the coffin. But as if arranging the deckchairs on the Titanic, they are changing the name to Naturland, so problem solved it seems. The conundrum is that they cannot afford to open or close the park as the finances of the Comú who became stuck in the quicksand soon after opening in 2009 would suffer to the extent of "technical" bankruptcy. The debt has now reached 21.6 million and rising every minute that it is or it is not open, with book value assets at 7.6 million. In April 2021 they announced the total closure of the animal park and that the animals were to be found a home elsewhere. Naturland was therefore to become a nature park with increased family activities ( hence the brilliant idea to change the park`s name). It sounds like a coffee shop that no longer sells coffee. In all of this the people of Sant Jùlia are quite rightly beginning to take notice of all this and there is a growing swell of antiparkism; They want a say in how their money is being spent and how much longer the park can be allowed to operate. Journalists are finally in Andorra sharpening their swords, they are demanding that this and other publicly funded enterprises be subject to public scrutiny; It is the Lauredians ( those who live in Sant Jùlia) who should be discussing the future and not a secretive and unaccountable executive.
22nd July 2021 Pic de Carroi cable car suspended!
Well, there was considerable interest in moving to the next phase of this cable car project that will link Andorra La Vella with the Pic de Carroi with the 2nd leg on to Pal ski station (and the possible heliport!). However, now the interest is zero since the companies, some of whom had already invested considerable funds and time in initial studies, were suddenly told that they had to pay a bond of 15% of the value of the construction during the entire period of operation of the cable car, 45 years if it reaches Pal, or 35 years if it only makes it to the Pic de Carroi. The cost of construction is estimated to be 40 million euros and the deposit would then be six million euros without interest. Other negativisms include re-instating the land as it was when finished, the difficulty of the designated station in Andorra, and the fact that those who have a PAL ski pass will be travelling free, so not a lot of profit there then. In fact Doppelmayer who have put up most of the cable cars in Andorra felt like it was a kick in the teeth and have threatened legal action. As a consequence of these Andorran business ethics, no-one put in a bid for the next phase, not a sausage! This may also have a knock on effect to the "final" destination of the good old heliport at Pal, the heliport location that has been bouncing around Andorra like playing catch with a red hot rock. Who wants to land at Pal with the family and luggage just back from Bali anyway?
Post Note June 2022: The whole cable car project has been cancelled indefinitely !!
29th May 2021.. Andorra hits the world stage - A game changing post pandemic trade agreement kickstart with Kiribati!
Andorra secured today a historic post pandemic establishment of diplomatic relations with Kiribati. The main island of Baraba and 32 atolls with a population of 119,000 are expected to be the first nation to disappear before 2100 under the rising sea levels caused by global warming. Ecstatic announcements in Gilbertese rang through the main city Tarawa yesteday celebrating this new exciting future trading relationship with Andorra expected to be worth 49.51 EUR per annum. It also strengthens the case for the new airport at Grau Roig, with the possibility of direct flights by Air Kiribati from the International airport of Bonriki.
16th March 2021 - Astrazeneca, all science says it is great, politicians disagree - who is right?
At a time when Italy is now in the third lockdown, French hospitals are overwhelmed, upticks now in Spain and too close to home in La Seu D'Urgell to where we can travel without any reason, why are warehouses full of vaccines not being used and why is the EU even banning shipments elsewhere if they don't even want them (remember Australia's shipment from Italy?) There have been 37 instances in the 18,000,000 vaccinations done, statistically at 0.0000021% or 1 in 486,487 persons you are SEVEN more times likely to have an incidence from Ibroprufen, less likely to be killed by a firework (1 in 340,733 persons) and four times LESS likely to be struck by lightening (1 in 114,195 persons). So what is this all about? The EU were very upset that the UK rolled out their own vaccine and ever since have sought to undermine it, so effectively we have vaccine wars which could be a new blockbuster if it wasn't that lives are being lost in political games. The WHO, the EMA ( EU equivalent) and all third stage trials have passed the vaccine for safe use, the thrombosis scare is statistically insignificant given that there is an estimated 3,000 deaths per year in "normal circumstances" from blood clots. At present there simply is no evidence that the vaccine is linked to any clots or deaths. In the time that the vaccines have been suspended there have been many thousands of deaths from Covid. While the UK presses on with vaccinations the death rate there has dropped from 1,800 deaths per day to 64 yesterday. It boils down to whether proven science and testing is correct or the mind of a politician? With the anger from EU citizens blaming EU politicians for such an inept rollout of the vaccines is this not a ploy to cover their own backsides by simply claiming to protect the population from the risks of this killer vaccine? What risks??
8th March 2021 "Negacionistes", yes Andorra has them as well...
What on earth is a "negacioniste"? Something akin to a "negativist" or the more familiar term denier or just the plain old conspiracy theorist. The planned march by these negativists has been abandoned as they were moaning about being singled out for some strange reason with extra restrictions that other protests did not have to adhere to (another conspiracy). One of these persons, a leading politician, believe it or not, (who as of today has resigned from her political position, let's say booted out) recently took a soap box in a restaurant and attempted to persuade the diners there that the vaccination is all a lie and a plot by Bill Gates to depopulate the world and it contains nano neuroprobes that pass on the content of your emails to a race of giant newts that live inside the flat moon, or something similar, calling the whole plandemic a great lie intending to allow the new world order to enslave us poor idiots. Really ? I could go on but I can't be bothered.... By the way a new world order? The most incompetent organisations in the world are Governments and the current and last batch of world leaders tend to lend credence to that. The only "higher" level of authority cobbled together above national governments is the EU (say no more), so no wonder the prospect of yet another higher level of incompetence above that at a global level creates such concern, rightly so...
26th February 2021.. No non residents skiing in Andorra? Are you sure?
The Government has already announced that the partially open slopes are only open to residents and that the ski resorts have proudly assured the Government that they are indeed not selling tickets to non residents. With the photos of queues last weekend looking like a normal season, an outbreak on the piste restaurant at El Tarter, and every other car heading to the ski resorts being French or Spanish plated one wonders indeed.
This photo of piste queues from 20th February 2021 contains no non residents at all, the French and Spanish cars in the carpark were abandoned when Covid struck in early 2020.
In fact if you phone the ski resorts they tell you that there is no problem getting a ticket UNLESS you show a French passport as they have been expressly told not to ski by Monsieur Macron, but even then it is widely known that the French can pay up to double for a resident purchased ticket ( A ski tout I suppose) and happily go skiing. There is growing disquiet from Sr Juan Publico that while the Andorrans have to endure ever continuing restrictions, visitors from neighbouring countries are ensuring that the daily figures for infections remain stubbornly high ( albeit with a little help from parties, bbqs and pub crawls in an unnamed local village). Maybe they have adopted the vehicle ski concealment kits
23rd February 2021 Canillo Ice Rink for 6M EUR...
One of the first questions I get asked is what is the annual tax here for Comú services? When I explain that an average annual outlay of about 90 EUR will get the bins emptied 363 days per year, sewage, street lights, snow ploughs, seasonal decorations, pothole free roads, squeaky clean pavements and even free geraniums for residents, the response inevitably is how can they do that when other countries charge small fortunes for nothing similar to what they offer here? It has come as more than a surprise then to the poor residents of Canillo that the ice rink in Canillo may mean that their rubbish will not get collected for the next 25 years. The Palau de Gel in Canillo (reported on below some months ago) had been rented for the past 25 years by Canillo Comú for 1,900 EUR per month. Earlier this year much to the alarm of the Comú the land owner demanded an inflationary busting increase to 25,000 EUR per month. Due to the adept Comú negotiating skills a new rent of 20,000 EUR per month has now been agreed on meaning that the Comú tax payers will fork out 6,000,000 EUR over the next 25 years. I mean hands up those who have ever set foot in it? How can a village community of 4,200 people at the wrong end of Andorra fork out that amount, and for 25 years? If they pay 90 EUR per month in service taxes that means the basic Comú tax income is about an annual 378,000 EUR, leaving just 78,000 EUR per year after this rent of 300,000 EUR is paid out. I have an idea..... Can someone build the La Massana bypass and rent that back to the Comú?
10th February 2021 The Rwanda Enigma strikes again
In July 2020 the EU released their first safe corridor list of 15 countries, amongst which appeared Rwanda, a Gorilla habitat in darkest Africa. Rwanda stayed on this list, which has been updated at intervals by the EU, and is still on the list after other countries fell off the cart along the route leaving just Rwanda and 6 other countries on the list including Australia, New Zealand and other countries that have behaved themselves during Covid. Rwanda has now appeared on the new, but one year late, UK red list for hotel quarantine arrivals along with 44 other countries, strange given the constant EU open arms policy, the only country in Africa allowed such privileges. By total coincidence, in 1890 the conference of Brussels divided the area and gave Rwanda and Burundi to the German Empire; Any business interests, Gorilla research or other hidden gems? Again, nothing against Rwandans, it all just seems so out of context!
1st January 2021 How to conceal ski equipment and ski Andorra
Andorra has announced from tomorrow the ski resorts will very partially open and will be free for the first day. A progressive opening will ensue which will result in two things; Firstly the earlier they open the sooner they will close, and secondly they will open long enough to escape season pass refunds. The limited opening of pistes is intended to be restricted to locals here until the neighbouring countries allow their nationals to come and ski. However, it does not take much observation to notice that Andorra is already crawling with Spanish and French registration plates. I know for a fact that few, if any, are being stopped or denied entry. at the border. Now if you put your skis on the roof rack it may draw attention, so it is important to use the clip opposite to ensure that the skis are concealed and clipped to the exhaust pipe (There is an alternative battery magnet for Teslas). This will divert attention from the unlikely event of any alert customs officer. You can as an accessory order a steering wheel column clip for the ski poles while removing the spare tyre and concealing the ski boots in the spare wheel well. In the unlikely event that you are stopped and challenged say you are shopping or visiting some distant relative. Have a good ski !!!