An Association Agreement between the EU San Marino, Monaco and Andorra
Brussels – An acceleration on the road that leads to an (almost) more harmonious integration of three micro-states with the European Union. The Vice-President of the EU Commission for Interinstitutional Relations, Maroš Šefčovičannounced today (Thursday 30 June) the presentation of a roadmap to get to the signature of the Association Agreements by the end of 2023 with the Republic of San Marino, the Principality of Andorra and the Principality of Monaco: “It could be one of the largest offered by the Union to external partners”, he pointed out strongly Šefčovič, during the joint press conference with the San Marino Foreign Minister, Luca Beccarithe Andorran Secretary of State for European Affairs, Landry Riba Mandicoand the Monegasque Special Adviser for negotiations with the EU, Gilles Tonelli.
Negotiations for the Association Agreement began in March 2015, but with the aftermath of the Russian invasion of Ukraine the need to keep up with the times, to forge relations at every level on the European continent, was recognized: “In the current geopolitical context, in which the rules-based order is under pressure, strengthening Western unity is our moral imperative“, Exhorted the vice-president of the Commission, recalling that with the three micro-states“ we share both values and challenges ”. If “staying united, promoting our ties and advancing integration is the right way to go”, the EU executive wants a roadmap that reflects “The political ambition to conclude the negotiations” in 18 months.
With this objective – for which “seven years of work was needed”, they will include all the guests in Brussels – the following specifications will be included and a strengthening for each of the three countries, which include the relations with the Union, “also through integration into the Single Market with its four freedoms [libera circolazione di persone, merci, capitali e servizi, ndr]”, Šefčovič wanted. “It will undoubtedly be a significant change”, which will be able to count on the “momentum” for the deepening of relations with closest partners: “The EU partnership with Andorra, Monaco and San Marino it will be as deep and special as possible“Promised the vice president of the Commission.
The current state
Neither San Marino neither Andorra are part of the Schengen Agreement (which provides for the free movement of persons between EU Member States and the abolition of common borders), however have had a customs union with the Union since 1991: only San Marino is also the same for agricultural products (since 2002). Andorra maintains part of its border controls, only at some border crossings with Spain. The Principality of Monaco currently has a hybrid situation, and applies some EU policies through the special relationship it has with France: is a de facto member of Schengenwhile it is fully part of the customs territory of the Union.
As for the other European micro-states, Liechtenstein is the only one that is part of the European Economic Area and the Single Market (from 1 May 1995), while from 19 December 2011 it signed the Schengen agreements. There Vatican CITY it is the smallest recognized state in the world and only has an open border with Italy. All micro-states (except Liechtenstein, which uses the Swiss franc) the euro as their official currency and have the right to mint a limited numberbecause they are recognized for having used or having been in currencies no longer in circulation of some member countries (lira for San Marino and Vatican City, French franc for Monaco, Spanish peseta and French franc for Andorra). On the part of Brussels there is no interest in integrating any of the European micro-states as a member countrysince it would be excessively complex to manage questions within the Union (such as the rotating presidencies of the Council of EU members, or the right of veto of the States) for territorial entities that are too limited in terms of surface and population.
The Vice-President of the EU Commission, Maroš Šefčovič, announced a roadmap to reach the signing of “one of the largest agreements ever offered to external partners” by the end of 2023. The aim is to strengthen the integration of the four micro-states into the Union’s Single Market