Espot celebrates the EU Association Agreement and pledges to seek a big ‘yes’ in the referendum

Espot celebrates the EU Association Agreement and pledges to seek a big ‘yes’ in the referendum

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“Today is a very good day for Europeans, but also for the people of Andorra and San Marino.” This is how it started Maros ŠefčovićThe Vice President of the European Commission during the press conference he held with the Prime Minister Xavier Spot I Luca BeccariMinister of Foreign Affairs of San Marino after the meeting onAssociation Agreement with the European Union Which was held to coincide with a meeting of the General Affairs Council, which also discusses the official status of the Catalans. Espot thanked the European Commission for its willingness to negotiate, knowing that the agreement “gives more advantages to Andorran citizens and companies than to Europeans.” “This is evidence,” Espot said, given the dimensions of the Andorran and European internal markets. Espot said they would now try to convince the Andorians of the advisability of voting yes on the agreement in The referendum will take place in the second half of 2024.

Šefčović said that after today’s step, Andorra and San Marino were closer to being part of the “EU family”, and explained that he had made clear to the various European governments the status of the negotiations through the Association Agreement. “I was pleased to announce to them that we had reached an agreement,” he said, recalling that it took forty-nine meetings of the negotiators to reach an agreement.

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He described the agreement as a milestone, and said that it achieves the European Union’s goal of building a specific and solid relationship with the two countries, but also The interests of Andorra and San Marino. “The agreement is similar to the European Economic Area agreement that we have with Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. In fact, I think it goes even further, as the association agreement with Andorra and San Marino turns into The most comprehensive comprehensive agreement that the European Union has concluded with any third country. He stressed that it is like the European Economic Area +.

Šefčović then highlighted some points. He explained that the partnership agreement will allow the two countries to participate in the European market under the same competitive conditions and respect the same rules as the rest of the European countries. But he specified that access to the internal market and financial services would be gradual and would depend on the results of audits on the soundness of agreed regulatory frameworks. “At the same time, it sets a framework for developing and enhancing dialogue and cooperation in other areas of common interest such as research and development, education, social, political, environment, consumer protection, culture and regional cooperation,” he added.

(Photo: EFE/EPA/Olivier Houslet)

He said that Andorra and San Marino’s access to the European internal market is positive for both countries and the EU: European citizens and companies will be able to access economic opportunities, especially those who already live and work there; Residents of Andorra and San Marino will have access to an internal market of 450 million people.

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He added, “The Association Agreement will allow the establishment of a distinguished relationship between the European Union and Andorra and San Marino, both of which are in the heart of Europe.” The European Commission will now finalize the Association Agreement and refer it to the Council for signature.

Referendum in the second half of 2024

The head of government, Xavier Espot, said that when negotiations with the European Union began in 2015, they sought an instrument that would allow Andorra to diversify the economy to enhance the country’s solidity, and that they tried to marry Andorra’s peculiarities regarding the rules of the European Common Market. “We have concluded the negotiations having reached a balanced agreement that allows Andorra to progressively participate in the European internal market, moving towards the flexibility and solidity of our country, which will allow us to increase the capacity to confront future issues in a future framework.” A complex context,” he said, adding that the agreement strengthens Andorra’s independence and sovereignty.

“With this agreement, Andorra has the possibility to prove that we can be a reliable partner for EU-based companies,” Espot said. He added that Andorra could also be a good partner from a political point of view in a changing European dynamic. “We are convinced that small countries, like Andorra, can also be important and be model players in European construction,” he said.

In order to ratify the agreement, the population of Andorra will need to consult on a referendum that will be held in the second half of 2024 and, if it has popular support, it will be approved by Parliament. “In the coming months, we will work hard to create the best environment for it to obtain a firm ‘yes’ in order to grant Andorra the possibility of becoming an EU associate state and participating in its European market,” he declared.

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