Andorra Refugees
Home to roughly 79,300 people, Andorra is a tiny principality located in the mountainous region between France and Spain. Although the principality joined the Council of Europe and the United Nations, it is not an official member of the European Union. Despite this, Andorra maintains a special relationship with the European Union, and, today, supports the common policy for refugees that the European Union has established. Here are 10 facts about Andorra refugees:

  1. The principality works directly with the European Union in matters of solidarity.
  2. Andorran Foreign Minister Gilbert Saboya has stated that the principality works with representatives from the European Union to create a screening and security process which will accommodate only 40 refugees.
  3. Andorra agreed to assist refugees for strictly humanitarian reasons. However, the municipality stated that it guarantees no official protections.
  4. A political asylum plan is not a priority of the local government, and is by no mean, an “action plan.” Instead, Andorra plans to support the common policy of the European Union.
  5. Currently, an individual must reside in Andorra for 15 years before they may apply for citizenship.
  6. Current opposition parties are working on legislation which would allow an individual to apply for citizenship before a period of 15 years.
  7. In order for anyone to obtain Andorran citizenship, an exam must be taken in the national language of Catalan. Geography and history questions are included on the exam.
  8. According to the most recent World Data information, the Andorran government received zero asylum applications.
  9. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees recommended that Andorra “accede to the 1951 Convention relating to the status of refugees and its 1976 Protocol,” and “establish a refugee status determination procedure which is fully gender and age sensitive.”
  10. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees also recommends that Andorra “accede to the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons and the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness.”

Although Andorra is quite small, the reality for Andorra refugees reveals that the principality is representative of a number of countries who have yet to commit to providing asylum. Should the Andorran government continue to work directly with the European Union on this matter, refugee asylum may be in the foreseeable future.

Shannon Golden

Photo: Pixabay

Andorra is a healthy country; its lack of heavy industry leaves air clean, and people of all ages are used to climbing up and down its hillsides, both of which contribute to the country’s very high life expectancy Still, there is disease. The major diseases in Andorra are non-communicable in nature.

Some of the major diseases in Andorra are cardiovascular diseases, cancer and neurological disorders. These are the most deadly non-communicable diseases. According to HealthGrove, 40.1 percent are affected by cardiovascular diseases, 31.6 percent are affected by cancer and 11.9 percent are affected by neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s disease.

Cardiovascular Diseases
In 2013, ischemic heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular and circulatory diseases were the most deadly cardiovascular diseases. They accounted for 87.6 percent of all deaths from cardiovascular disease in Andorra. Of the three, ischemic heart disease was the most deadly, followed by stroke. The mortality rate for the former has decreased by 11 percent since 1990; for the latter it has declined eight percent. The other cardiovascular and circulatory diseases, on the other hand, kill fewer people, but their mortality rate has increased by 25 percent in little more than a generation.

Tracheal, bronchus and lung cancer were the three most deadly cancers in 2013, followed by colorectal and prostate cancer. The rate of cancer deaths is on the rise in Andorra. The mortality rate for the respiratory-related cancers is up 18 percent since 1990; for colorectal cancer the increase is 19 percent. The mortality rate for prostate cancer has grown by an astonishing 48 percent since 1990.

Neurological Disorders
Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, Parkinson’s disease, and other neurological disorders were the most deadly neurological disorders in Andorra in 2013. In 2013, 72.8 people out of every 100,000 were killed by Alzheimer’s and other dementias. Since 1990, the mortality rate for these dementias has increased by 29 percent. Parkinson disease killed another 8.1 per 100,000; its mortality rate has climbed by 61 percent. The mortality rate for other neurological disorders is up 17 percent since 1990.

Even though non-communicable diseases are some of the major diseases in Andorra, the country, overall, is still relatively healthy. Andorra has some of the most technologically advanced hospitals in Europe. There are ten state-funded health centers in Andorra, which are staffed by nurses. They are responsible for first aid, antenatal and child care, nursing services, home and rehabilitation care, immunizations and general healthcare. Moreover, emergency care is free for everyone.

Solansh Moya

Photo: Flickr

Poverty in Andorra
Andorra is a mountainous region located between France and Spain, officially a principality with two co-princes and its own constitution. Known for having lavish skiing attractions, Andorra had a 2014 GDP of $3.28 billion. With a population of just 85,000, this gives Andorra the ninth-highest GDP per capita in the world, at about $53,000. No data exists on poverty in Andorra, but it is generally assumed to be nonexistent.

Andorrans enjoy a high standard of living and have the highest life expectancy in the world, at 83.5 years. Most exports consist of technology equipment such as integrated circuits and orthopedic appliances, along with another stream of revenue, briquette sales. GDP has risen steadily since 2013, partially due to austerity measures.

Dominated by an urban population, only five percent of the region’s land is arable. That is why most food has to be imported from other countries. Prior to tourism, agriculture was the leading stream of revenue as tobacco was sold.

Major sources of income now include tourism and retail sales on products like perfume because of the country’s duty-free status. These are the primary sources of wealth and account for three-quarters of GDP.

The government of Andorra did a good job stabilizing its economy after the steady decline in tourism that occurred after 2010. Relaxation of the residency and investment laws contributed to the country’s attractiveness to foreign visitors, however now its relatively small housing market is among the many around the world affected by speculation.

With lavish hotels and a change in laws, stabilization of tourism was able to occur. Even with a negative trade balance, poverty in Andorra is minimal and the country is projected to continue to rise in GDP into 2017. Taking the appropriate steps helped the Andorran economy recover.

Nick Katsos

Photo: Flickr