Liechtenstein

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The Principality of Liechtenstein was established within the Holy Roman Empire in 1719. Occupied by both French and Russian troops during the Napoleonic Wars, it became a sovereign state in 1806 and joined the Germanic Confederation in 1815. Liechtenstein became fully independent in 1866 when the Confederation dissolved. Until the end of World War I, it was closely tied to Austria, but the economic devastation caused by that conflict forced Liechtenstein to enter into a customs and monetary union with Switzerland. Since World War II (in which Liechtenstein remained neutral), the country's low taxes have spurred outstanding economic growth. In 2000, shortcomings in banking regulatory oversight resulted in concerns about the use of financial institutions for money laundering. However, Liechtenstein implemented anti-money laundering legislation and a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty with the US that went into effect in 2003.

Geography

Location

Central Europe, between Austria and Switzerland

Geographic coordinates

47.16° N, 9.32° E

Area 219/257

total: 160 sq km

land: 160 sq km

water: 0 sq km

Area - comparative

about 0.9 times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries

total: 75 km

border countries (2): Austria 34 km, Switzerland 41 km

Coastline

0 km (doubly landlocked)

Maritime claims

none (landlocked)

Climate

continental; cold, cloudy winters with frequent snow or rain; cool to moderately warm, cloudy, humid summers

Terrain

mostly mountainous (Alps) with Rhine Valley in western third

Elevation

mean elevation:

elevation extremes:

lowest point: Ruggeller Riet 430 m

highest point: Vorder-Grauspitz 2,599 m

Natural resources

hydroelectric potential, arable land

Land use

agricultural land: 37.6%

arable land 18.8%; permanent crops 0%; permanent pasture 18.8%

forest: 43.1%

other: 19.3% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

0 sq km (2012)

Natural hazards

NA

Environment - current issues

NA

Environment - international agreements

party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulfur 85, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea

Geography - note

along with Uzbekistan, one of only two doubly landlocked countries in the world; variety of microclimatic variations based on elevation

People and Society

Nationality

noun: Liechtensteiner(s)

adjective: Liechtenstein

Ethnic groups

Liechtensteiner 66.3%, other 33.7% (2013 est.)

Languages

German 94.5% (official) (Alemannic is the main dialect), Italian 1.1%, other 4.3% (2010 est.)

Religions

Roman Catholic (official) 75.9%, Protestant Reformed 6.5%, Muslim 5.4%, Lutheran 1.3%, other 2.9%, none 5.4%, unspecified 2.6% (2010 est.)

Population 214/238

37,624 (July 2015 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 15.54% (male 3,142/female 2,706)

15-24 years: 11.73% (male 2,182/female 2,230)

25-54 years: 42.65% (male 8,013/female 8,035)

55-64 years: 13.58% (male 2,504/female 2,606)

65 years and over: 16.49% (male 2,837/female 3,369) (2015 est.)

Median age

total: 42.7 years

male: 41.5 years

female: 43.8 years (2015 est.)

Population growth rate 130/233

0.84% (2015 est.)

Birth rate 187/224

10.45 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Death rate 128/225

7.12 deaths/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Net migration rate 26/222

5.08 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Urbanization

urban population: 14.3% of total population (2015)

rate of urbanization: 0.48% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

VADUZ (capital) 5,000 (2014)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.26 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.16 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 0.98 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 1 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.96 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.84 male(s)/female

total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2015 est.)

Infant mortality rate 189/224

total: 4.29 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 4.59 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 3.92 deaths/1,000 live births (2015 est.)

Life expectancy at birth 16/224

total population: 81.77 years

male: 79.6 years

female: 84.5 years (2015 est.)

Total fertility rate 173/224

1.69 children born/woman (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate

NA

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

NA

HIV/AIDS - deaths

NA

Education expenditures 166/173

2.1% of GDP (2008)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 15 years

male: 16 years

female: 14 years (2012)

Government

Country name

conventional long form: Principality of Liechtenstein

conventional short form: Liechtenstein

local long form: Fuerstentum Liechtenstein

local short form: Liechtenstein

etymology: named after the Liechtenstein dynasty that purchased and united the counties of Schellenburg and Vaduz and that were allowed by the Holy Roman Emperor in 1719 to rename the new property after their family; the name in German means "light (bright) stone"

Government type

hereditary constitutional monarchy

Capital

name: Vaduz

geographic coordinates: 47.08° N, 9.31° E

time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October

Administrative divisions

11 communes (Gemeinden, singular - Gemeinde); Balzers, Eschen, Gamprin, Mauren, Planken, Ruggell, Schaan, Schellenberg, Triesen, Triesenberg, Vaduz

Independence

23 January 1719 (Principality of Liechtenstein established); 12 July 1806 (independence from the Holy Roman Empire); 24 August 1866 (independence from the German Confederation)

National holiday

Assumption Day, 15 August, and National Day, 15 August (1940)

Constitution

previous 1862; latest adopted 5 October 1921; amended many times, last in 2011 (2015)

Legal system

civil law system influenced by Swiss, Austrian, and German law

International law organization participation

accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction

Citizenship

citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: the father must be a citizen of Liechtenstein; in the case of a child born out of wedlock, the mother must be a citizen

dual citizenship recognized: no

residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years

Suffrage

18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: Prince HANS ADAM II (since 13 November 1989, assumed executive powers on 26 August 1984); Heir Apparent Prince ALOIS, son of the monarch (born 11 June 1968); note - on 15 August 2004, HANS ADAM II transferred the official duties of the ruling prince to ALOIS, but HANS ADAM II retains status of chief of state

head of government: Prime Minister Adrian HASLER (since 27 March 2013)

cabinet: Cabinet elected by the Parliament, confirmed by the monarch

elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party in the Landtag usually appointed the head of government by the monarch, and the leader of the largest minority party in the Landtag usually appointed the deputy head of government by the monarch if there is a coalition government

Legislative branch

description: unicameral Parliament or Landtag (25 seats; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote to serve 4-year terms)

elections: last held on 3 February 2013 (next to be held in February 2017)

election results: percent of vote by party - FBP 40.0%, VU 33.5%, DU 15.3% FL 11.1%; seats by party - FBP 10, VU 8, DU 4, FL 3

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Supreme Court or Oberster Gerichtshof (consists of 5 judges); Constitutional Court or Verfassungsgericht (consists of 5 judges and 5 alternates)

judge selection and term of office: judges of both courts elected by the Landtag and appointed by the monarch; Supreme Court judges serve 4-year renewable terms; Constitutional Court judge tenure NA

subordinate courts: Court of Appeal or Obergericht (second instance), Court of Justice (first instance), Administrative Court, county courts

Political parties and leaders

Fatherland Union (Vaterlaendische Union) or VU [Jakob BUECHEL]

Progressive Citizens' Party (Fortschrittliche Buergerpartei) or FBP [Elfried HASLER]

The Free List (Die Freie Liste) or FL [Wolfgang MARXER]

the independents (Die Unabhaengigen) or DU [Harry QUADERER]

International organization participation

CD, CE, EBRD, EFTA, IAEA, ICCt, ICRM, IFRCS, Interpol, IOC, IPU, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), OAS (observer), OPCW, OSCE, PCA, Schengen Convention, UN, UNCTAD, UPU, WIPO, WTO

Flag description

two equal horizontal bands of blue (top) and red with a gold crown on the hoist side of the blue band; the colors may derive from the blue and red livery design used in the principality's household in the 18th century; the prince's crown was introduced in 1937 to distinguish the flag from that of Haiti

National symbol(s)

princely hat (crown); national colors: blue, red

National anthem

name: "Oben am jungen Rhein" (High Above the Young Rhine)

lyrics/music: Jakob Joseph JAUCH/Josef FROMMELT

note: adopted 1850, revised 1963; uses the tune of "God Save the Queen"

Economy

Economy - overview

Despite its small size and lack of natural resources, Liechtenstein has developed into a prosperous, highly industrialized, free-enterprise economy with a vital financial service sector and the third highest per capita income in the world, after Qatar and Luxembourg. The Liechtenstein economy is widely diversified with a large number of small businesses. Low business taxes - the maximum tax rate is 20% - and easy incorporation rules have induced many holding companies to establish nominal offices in Liechtenstein, providing 30% of state revenues.

The country participates in a customs union with Switzerland and uses the Swiss franc as its national currency. It imports more than 90% of its energy requirements. Liechtenstein has been a member of the European Economic Area (an organization serving as a bridge between the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and the EU) since May 1995. The government is working to harmonize its economic policies with those of an integrated Europe.

Since 2008, Liechtenstein has faced renewed international pressure - particularly from Germany and the United States - to improve transparency in its banking and tax systems. In December 2008, Liechtenstein signed a Tax Information Exchange Agreement with the US. Upon Liechtenstein's conclusion of 12 bilateral information-sharing agreements, the OECD in October 2009 removed the principality from its "grey list" of countries that had yet to implement the organization's Model Tax Convention. By the end of 2010, Liechtenstein had signed 25 Tax Information Exchange Agreements or Double Tax Agreements. In 2011 Liechtenstein joined the Schengen area, which allows passport-free travel across 26 European countries.

GDP (purchasing power parity) 183/230

$3.2 billion (2009 est.)

$3.216 billion (2008 est.)

$3.159 billion (2007 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate)

$5.113 billion (2010 est.)

GDP - real growth rate 154/225

1.8% (2012 est.)

-0.5% (2009 est.)

3.1% (2007 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP) 3/230

$89,400 (2009 est.)

$90,600 (2008 est.)

$89,700 (2007 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 8%

industry: 37%

services: 55% (2009)

Agriculture - products

wheat, barley, corn, potatoes; livestock, dairy products

Industries

electronics, metal manufacturing, dental products, ceramics, pharmaceuticals, food products, precision instruments, tourism, optical instruments

Industrial production growth rate

NA%

Labor force 201/233

35,830 (2012)

note: 51% of the labor force in Liechtenstein commute daily from Austria, Switzerland, or Germany (2012 est.)

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 0.8%

industry: 39.4%

services: 59.9% (2012)

Unemployment rate 29/207

3.4% (2012)

2.3% (2011)

Population below poverty line

NA%

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: NA%

highest 10%: NA%

Budget

revenues: $995.3 million

expenditures: $890.4 million (2012 est.)

Taxes and other revenues 164/219

19.5% of GDP (2012 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) 13/220

2.1% of GDP (2012 est.)

Fiscal year

calendar year

Inflation rate (consumer prices) 31/226

-0.2% (2012)

-0.7% (2011)

Market value of publicly traded shares

$NA

Exports 120/224

$3.801 billion (2012 est.)

$3.757 billion (2011 est.)

note: trade data exclude trade with Switzerland

Exports - commodities

small specialty machinery, connectors for audio and video, parts for motor vehicles, dental products, hardware, prepared foodstuffs, electronic equipment, optical products

Imports 160/223

$2.09 billion (2012 est.)

$2.218 billion (2011 est.)

note: trade data exclude trade with Switzerland

Imports - commodities

agricultural products, raw materials, energy products, machinery, metal goods, textiles, foodstuffs, motor vehicles

Debt - external 206/206

$0 (2001)

note: public external debt only; private external debt unavailable

Exchange rates

Swiss francs (CHF) per US dollar -

0.94 (2015)

0.94 (2012)

0.94 (2012)

0.94 (2012 est.)

0.89 (2011 est.)

Energy

Electricity - production 193/220

145.3 million kWh (2012)

Electricity - consumption 149/219

1.36 billion kWh (2012)

Electricity - imports 59/219

1.214 billion kWh (2012)

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines 187/219

total subscriptions: 18,000

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 48 (2014 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular 204/217

total: 38,800

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 104 (2014 est.)

Telephone system

general assessment: automatic telephone system

domestic: fixed-line and mobile-cellular services widely available; combined telephone service subscribership exceeds 150 per 100 persons

international: country code - 423; linked to Swiss networks by cable and microwave radio relay (2011)

Broadcast media

relies on foreign terrestrial and satellite broadcasters for most broadcast media services; first Liechtenstein-based TV station established August 2008; Radio Liechtenstein operates multiple radio stations; a Swiss-based broadcaster operates several radio stations in Liechtenstein (2008)

Radio broadcast stations

AM 0, FM 4, shortwave 0 (1998)

Television broadcast stations

NA (linked to Swiss networks) (1997)

Internet country code

.li

Internet hosts 128/232

14,278 (2012)

Internet users 193/217

total: 34,500

percent of population: 92.4% (2014 est.)

Transportation

Pipelines

gas 20 km (2013)

Railways 136/136

total: 9 km

standard gauge: 9 km 1.435-m gauge (electrified)

note: belongs to the Austrian Railway System connecting Austria and Switzerland (2008)

Roadways 202/223

total: 380 km

paved: 380 km (2012)

Waterways 105/107

28 km (2010)

Military and Security

Military branches

no regular military forces; National Police maintains close relations with neighboring forces (2013)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

none

Illicit drugs

has strengthened money laundering controls, but money laundering remains a concern due to Liechtenstein's sophisticated offshore financial services sector