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Andorra news for Cynics. Where is Andorra airport?

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No news is not good news !!

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The annual archives have now been reproduced by popular demand. Note that they are in a "as they were" format so you can follow various stories such as the BPA scandal, or try the Andorra casino, and the headline spouting Andorra Airport, amongst a host of others.


In the beginning...well it was 2012!  

Have a read of the old articles. It is interesting to see how things (mostly) have not developed at all!

2012 News Around Andorra archives "13th December 2012 Andorra goes smoke free"

2013 News Around Andorra archives "9th April 2013. Speeding fines, to pay or not to pay?"

2014 News Around Andorra archives "10 September 2014- Referendum, now Andorra is talking about it!"
Andora with two r`s?
2015 News Around Andorra archives "16th July 2015 - Never mind the Brexit or Grexit...."

2016 News Around Andorra archives "4th February 2016 - James Bond 007 is back starring the Andorra Head of Government, Antoni Marti in the final epic "The Andorra Referendum"

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

2018 News Around Andorra archives "23rd January 2018 - Sexual malfunction crisis in Andorran delegation to EU."

2019 News Around Andorra archives "5th July 2019 - Andorra Roundabout Mayhem."

2020 News Around Andorra archives  - The year that COVID changed the landscape.

2021 News Around Andorra archives -  COVID continued to reap havoc, but not with the cynical projects

2022 News Around Andorra archives -  A post COVID Andorra, life goes on Andorra population to reach 3.3 M !!

2022 News Around Andorra archives -  Smart Urinals and David Cameron !!
divider
THE HATE MONGERS

There be devils at the gate
Devils who broadcast the seeds of hate
Devils setting brother against brother
Setting son against mother
Few or none are elected
Fewer still are respected
Your gullibility and mine
Provides codeine for their conscience
And a codpiece for their spine.

another divider

May 2024 The example I used as one of the EU directives (see below) has fascinated me enough to do some research……


 
EU Directive 2019/904 specifies that by July 2024 all disposable plastic bottles must have nondetachable tops, and I’m sure that we are all beginning to find now how annoying they are when you try to drink from a bottle of tomato juice, and it spills down your brand-new white T-shirt, or a bottle of water that spills into your lap and makes look like you've just peed yourself.

PriceWaterhouseCooper’s (PWC) in-house plastic bottle top specialists have completed an impact study that apparently the EU’s in-house plastic bottle top specialists did not before they bothered to introduce this new and latest diktat. PWC have concluded that the need to manufacture nondetachable plastic tops will mean the production of between 5,000 and 200,000 extra tons of plastic per year. PWC then went on to conclude that they estimate that introducing the caps would create an additional 58-381 million kg CO2 equivalent. At a time when the European Commission is also striving to reduce carbon emissions, this is clearly an illogical and backward step.  Oh yes and the cost of introducing tethered caps is estimated by PWC to be between €2.7 billion and up to €8.7 billion to adapt bottling lines.
 
So, when we include the likes of bendy bananas, the fact that drinking water does not hydrate you, swedes can only be called turnips in a Cornish pasty, and five rungs make a ladder, we had better have a closer look at some of these directives that Andorra is signing up to. It would appear there are more nondetachable plastic top specialists in PWC and the EU than there are specialists in EU law in this part of the world. But, let us be patient and wait for the Catalan translation!!!

AND...... Here is EU Directive 2019/904,  all 19 pages of small printed legal brilliance (Article 6. para 1 for those eagle eyed scholars out there). I will upload the other 27 language translations if time permits (Catalan excluded), which it won´t.
Also Article 6 para 3 required in 2019 to issue directives for the strength of the attachment, it is as you may have guessed a minimum force of 25 newtons to be acceptable, that is a weight of 2.5492905324481 Kg, about the weight of about two and a half kilogram bags of sugar. Just twist the bloody top off but wipe your fingerprints off just in case!!!

May 2024- The EU Andorra accord, just a couple of points (before I start!)

 

This referendum on whether to accept the accord has now been pushed back to late summer 2025.

All the negotiations of this accord for the past 10 years have been conducted predominantly in English, and a bit of French and a bit of Spanish. The final accord was signed off in December 2023 and since then we have been patiently waiting for an army of Catalan interpreters for the translation which in my mind is largely irrelevant. I have tracked down this final agreement in English and I will be posting snippets as and when I can be bothered.

Surely the first “line of attack” from our brave team of negotiators would have been to have demanded that Catalan be included as an official language of the EU. This at a time when Andorra is trying to portray the importance of Catalan by requiring all new residents to speak it but that is a different story which will be covered in due course.  Please also note that for example Maltese is an official language and there are approximately 450,000 native speakers. Catalan is not a native language and there are over more than 10 million native speakers. What we will be discussing over the next 12 months of (no doubt) project fear is pretty much discussing the Magna Carta once it has been translated into Icelandic. Let us vote on what has been signed not what somebody interprets that to be (US does not mean us it means the minority resident population of Andorra, namely Andorrans).
 
As a summary then, there are an estimated 6, 000 (give or take a few thousand) odd quoted references to EU directives that at the sweep of a pen Andorra will be signed up to. Has anyone read any of these references, and if you are not familiar with EU law it is a minefield with the field is very small and the mines are very big and plentiful.  As an example: –
 
35.      32017 R 0571: Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2017/571 of 2 June 2016 supplementing Directive 2014/65/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council with regard to regulatory technical standards on the authorisation, organisational requirements and the publication of transactions for data reporting services providers (OJ L 87, 31.3.2017, p. 126), as amended by:
 
     32018 R 0063: Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2018/63 of 26 September 2017 (OJ L 12, 17.1.2018, p. 2.).
 
And there are over 3000 pages of this gobbledegook with several regulations per page. I mean has anybody read each of these to see how they apply and whether each one is advantageous or detrimental to Andorra?.  And why bother with this Catalan translation, it will just become Catalan gobbledegook. Can anybody point to the regulation that specifies that plastic bottle tops must now be attached to the bottle itself, (yes they are annoying and how much of the cost industry?) Answers on a self-addressed envelope please. The same goes for the plastic thingy that used to hold six packs together now has been replaced by some flimsy cardboard replica that is about as useful as a plastic frying pan (well at least they haven’t been banned yet).

I will soon put a link into the agreement so that anybody with a penchant for night-time novels with that soporific effect can get truly excited.

April 2026. Book now for the great Spain total eclipse 2026.


The once-in-a-lifetime total Eclipse will occur in northern Spain in August 2026, judging by the interest in the USA of their recent experience you are going to need to book very early and pay high prices. There may just be some Spanish establishments that allow you to book several years in advance and who have not realised that this is going to be a sell-out !! Also note that it is getting quite late into the evening, so to travel that far for 30 seconds of darkness just before nightfall may be questionable, but there again it is Nature's most spectacular event not to be missed.
book now for 2026
where to see the total eclipse 2026

March 2024. The Government opens the EU accord debate


There was a meeting, very well attended by over a 1000 people, that did not have much information to offer, and the main complaint from participants seems to be the there was not much information to offer. They were assured that the full accord will be ready soon for distribution, the problem it seems is that it is all in English as the agreements are in English as Catalan is not an officially recognised language in the EU. The Catalan translations will be ready shortly,  one wonders why the English version cannot be available already , or ever will be? In 2018 a staggering 180,000 translators worked within the EU framework, none it seems well versed in Catalan. The Diari, the local newspaper proudly reported that fears of freedom of movement can be safely put to rest since in 2023 Andorra authorised residency permits for 2,000 EU nationals and that includes seasonal workers as well as passive and active. The newspaper stated that this figure would have been reduced to 368 under the new accord. Firstly they misinterpreted the figure of 368 which at the meeting was mentioned as being the minimum number which Andorra would be required to take in. Secondly of the 2,000 from 2023, it is easy to estimate that an absolute minimum of 1,700 would have been seasonal workers, so given the proud announcement of a reduction to 368, that means all restaurants and bars will become self service with an honesty box as a till, and you will need to walk up the slopes to ski down. The point here is that reporting and the lack of information is not helping the Government's case. Incidentally the other estimated 300 permits for passive and active, NO bond will be required for EU nationals (nor police certificates) !

February 2024 Andorra is the safest country in the world, but for how long ?


Andorra once again, and as we residents always know and are proud of, is top of the chats, No 1 !!!, for the safest country and lowest crime rate, courtesy of Ceoworld magazine who were instrumental in analysing 146 countries statistics, They quote "With the world turned upside-down and inside-out by international conflict, determining the safest countries is now more important than ever. 7 of the top 10 safest countries are in Asia.  Only Andorra, Norway, and Liechtenstein rank in the top 10 without being in Asia! "  Spain ranks just above Bulgaria in 45 place while France is sandwiched languishing between Kenya and Uganda in 110 place. This recently appeared in the local newspaper Diari, but it was the comments that deserve attention, centred around the question why give all of this up for the freedom of movement with this EU accord ? Just another question that someone, somewhere will have to address and with support for yes in the referendum now down in the last 3 years from  around 59% to a current 31%, a drop of 28% or so, there is work to be done by our politicians, and this referendum seems to have been pushed back to 2025 !!

18 January, 2024, possible another hike in passive and active bonds and investments


As Andorra surpasses the 85,100 population mark, the head of government has declared that it is unsustainable to accept 4,000 new residents each year (I'm not sure where he gets that figure from!). The government obviously sees an opportunity to increase the bond payable for active and passive residencies and also the level of passive residency investment from the current EUR 600,000. On top of that there are (unfounded) rumours that there is a new proposed 10% tax on non-resident property sales, and we are waiting for the new taxes on foreign investment and property acquisition for nonresidents and those with less than three years residency. If all of this comes together to dissuade property acquisitions there will be a lot of construction companies and promoters holding hot potatoes with the amount of construction of high-end property currently under construction and about to go under construction. Whilst an actual increase in the current tax rate of 10% is not mooted we will also need to watch carefully the outcome of the referendum on the EU accord and whether it will even be allowed to stay at 10%.

1st January 2024 - The Andorran Crystal balls..


There is a new word in Andorra “desandorraficació” or loosely translate as de-Andorrafication (Please see the following article). This new phrase comes from parties in opposition to the agreement reached on the EU accord which is going to be a hot topic in 2024 as we are "educated" on the correct answer prior to going to the ballot to determine the direction of the country.  This new word seems to sum up whatever is in the agreement that even the co-Prince is hailing as a wonderful way forward for the country, whatever that is….(a few too many whatevers, but whatever). The picture is an artist’s impression of the sort of education on the correct answer to the referendum that we face.


The La Massana bypass first phase budget has been approved and work is (again) expected to start in the spring. Originally planned for 2004, it is long overdue as is the footpath pavement from Erts to La Massana ( remember it was voted in number one spot under an urban suggestion scheme until the pandemic got in the way),  and the budget for that was also approved, so Christmas came early, Christmas 2023 that is (hopefully).

 
Andorra is apparently in the top ten globally for digital nomads. Well, these figures are deffo not based on successful applications at Immigration, so one wonders on what criteria this is based. Andorra has misunderstood the meaning of “Nomad” but at least they can wander around Andorra, if nowhere else. I have been banging on about freelancers being treated as passive and that for me is a nonstarter. The company bond exemption remains the only feasible route under the active category.

 
The current moratorium on foreign investment for property purchases will be replaced with a new set of taxes, let`s see how that pans out in 2024, only the majority ruling party seems to think it will solve the property speculation.

 
The on off, off on helipad at which has finally been moved to Pal in La Massana, after several aborted attempts to set it up in more accessible and logical places in Andorra, was supposed to be the subject of a Court argument in that the official planning complaints were ignored to the extent that injunctions have been sought against any further deforestation in the area. The objections have been largely ignored as they press ahead with removing the trees as this photo shows.



The original plan for the helipad was an affordable regular passenger transfer from an accessible pad in Andorra to Barcelona airport, with this final location as far away as possible from the capital, the helipad should be named Helipad Blanco Elefanto, forget the dreams of any regular service.





Added note for the questions surrounding the location and possible weather and wind interference for the heliport, this picture of the workers hut probably says far too many words !!!!

 




The Andorra casino shares were snapped up at 1000 EUR a pop without any public prospectus, accounts, or audits. In fact, we have heard nothing other than a few sketchy reports of revenue as that is taxed at 10% before expenses. I wonder if those that purchased the shares know whether the annual profits will then be taxed at 10%.... Anyone know ?? What or who benefitted from the proceeds of this 10% public offering.... Anyone know ??

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