relations between minute European countries and the European Union
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There are a number of microstates in Europe. While there is no clear consensus on which political units qualify as "microstates", most scholars view Andorra, Liechtenstein, Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican City as examples of such states.[1][2][3] At the same time, some academics dispute even qualifying Vatican as a true state arguing that it does not meet the "traditional criteria of statehood" and that the "special status of the Vatican City is probably best regarded as a means of ensuring that the Pope can freely exercise his spiritual functions, and in this respect is loosely analogous to that of the headquarters of international organisations."[4] According to the qualitative definition of microstates suggested by Dumienski (2014), microstates can also be viewed as "modern protected states, i.e. sovereign states that have been able to unilaterally depute certain attributes of sovereignty to larger powers in exchange for benign protection of their political and economic viability against their geographic or demographic constraints."[5] And indeed, all of the European microstates are sovereign states that function in a close (and voluntary) association with their respective larger neighbour. Currently, all of the European microstates have some form of relations with the European Union (EU).[6]

Andorra, Liechtenstein, Monaco, San Marino, and the Vatican City remain outside the Union, because the EU has not been designed with microstates in mind. Andorra is, by population, the largest of the five microstates with 78,115 according to a census taken in 2011. Two other small countries, Luxembourg and Malta, are full members of the EU and both inhabited by populations over 400,000. Iceland is considered a microstate by some, because of its small population of 320,060 as of April 2012.[7] It is a member of the European Economic Area (EEA) through the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), and is recognized as an official candidate for accession to the Union,…
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