San Marino–European Union relations

Bilateral relations
European Union-San Marino relations
Map indicating locations of European Union and San Marino

European Union

San Marino

Relations between the Republic of San Marino and the European Union (EU) began in February 1983.[1] San Marino is completely surrounded by one EU member state, Italy.


San Marino is not a party to the Schengen Agreement. However, it has an open border with the EU, although some random police checks are made, and has had a customs union with the EU (since 1991, including agricultural produce since 2002).[1][2] San Marino and the EU have also concluded an agreement on savings taxation.[1]

Via a monetary agreement, San Marino uses the euro as its sole currency (it previously used the Sammarinese lira, set at par with the Italian lira) and is allowed to mint a limited number of coins itself with their own design.[1] There were 3 agreements between San Marino and EU between 2001 and 2007 on greater fiscal integration, and as a result of these agreements, the Republic of San Marino now enjoys greater autonomy and the ability to mint its own coins.

Future integration

In November 2012, after the Council of the European Union had called for an evaluation of the EU's relations with the sovereign European microstates of Andorra, Monaco and San Marino, which they described as "fragmented",[3] the European Commission published a report outlining options for their further integration into the EU.[4] Unlike Liechtenstein, which is a member of the European Economic Area (EEA) via the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and the Schengen Agreement, relations with these three states are based on a collection of agreements covering specific issues. The report examined four alternatives to the current situation: 1) a Sectoral Approach with separate agreements with each state covering an entire policy area, 2) a comprehensive, multilateral Framework Association Agreement (FAA) with the three states, 3) EEA membership, and 4) EU membership. The Commission argued that the sectoral approach did not address the major issues and was still needlessly complicated, while EU membership was dismissed in the near future because "the EU institutions are currently not adapted to the accession of such small-sized countries." The remaining options, EEA membership and a FAA with the states, were found to be viable and were recommended by the Commission. In response, the Council requested that negotiations with the three microstates on further integration continue, and that a report be prepared by the end of 2013 detailing the implications of the two viable alternatives and recommendations on how to proceed.[5]

As EEA membership is currently only open to EFTA or EU members, the consent of existing EFTA member states is required for the microstates to join the EEA without becoming members of the EU. In 2011, Jonas Gahr Støre, the then Foreign Minister of Norway which is an EFTA member state, said that EFTA/EEA membership for the microstates was not the appropriate mechanism for their integration into the internal market due to their different requirements than large countries such as Norway, and suggested that a simplified association would be better suited for them.[6] Espen Barth Eide, Støre's successor, responded to the Commission's report in late 2012 by questioning whether the microstates have sufficient administrative capabilities to meet the obligations of EEA membership. However, he stated that Norway was open to the possibility of EFTA membership for the microstates if they decide to submit an application, and that the country had not made a final decision on the matter.[7][8][9][10] Pascal Schafhauser, the Counsellor of the Liechtenstein Mission to the EU, said that Liechtenstein, another EFTA member state, was willing to discuss EEA membership for the microstates provided their joining did not impede the functioning of the organization. However, he suggested that the option direct membership in the EEA for the microstates, outside of both the EFTA and the EU, should be given consideration.[9]

On 18 November 2013 the EU Commission published their report which concluded that "the participation of the small-sized countries in the EEA is not judged to be a viable option at present due to the political and institutional reasons", but that Association Agreements were a more feasible mechanism to integrate the microstates into the internal market, preferably via a single multilateral agreement with all three states.[11] In December 2014 the Council of the European Union approved negotiations being launched on such an agreement,[12] and they began in March 2015.[13]

Full membership

As of 2006, the left-wing opposition Popular Alliance was in favour of joining the EU, while the ruling Sammarinese Christian Democratic Party opposed.[14]

In 2010 the Parliament tasked the government to open negotiations for further integration with the European Union,[15] and subsequently a technical group prepared a report on EU and EEA membership.[16]

A campaign was launched in 2010 aiming to collect enough signatures to force a referendum on EU membership for San Marino.[17][18][19] The Guarantor Board approved the referendum on 15 November 2010,[20] and the referendum was set for 27 March 2011.[21] However, after the government sent a letter to the President of the European Commission requesting "open negotiations aimed at achieving a greater integration of the Republic of San Marino at the European level" on 20 January 2011,[21][22] the government argued that the referendum should be canceled since the question had been resolved, even though the letter did not request full membership in the EU for San Marino.[23] The Guarantor Board accepted this argument and canceled the referendum on 24 February.[21]

On 7 July 2011 the Grand and General Council rejected calls for an application for full EU membership, and instead approved an agenda that called for further negotiations on enhancing San Marino's integration with the EU, without excluding the possibility of membership in the future.[24][25][26][27]

A second campaign also succeeded in collecting enough signatures for a referendum on EU membership.[28] On 23 July 2013 the Captains Regent set the date of the referendum for 20 October 2013.[29][30] Although a majority voted in favour, a low turnout meant that the quorum of 32% of registered voters voting in favour was not reached, meaning the proposal failed.[31]

Political parties' stances towards membership application
Group Party Position Ref[32]
Government Sammarinese Christian Democratic Party Neutral [33]
RETE Movement No [34][35]
Socialist Party Yes [36]
Domani Motus Liberi TBA
Party of Socialists and Democrats Yes [37]
Democratic Movement – San Marino Together TBA
Opposition United Left Yes [38]
Civic 10 Yes [39][40]
Future Republic Yes [41]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d EU's relations with San Marino, European External Action Service
  2. ^ Customs union with some goods excluded (except fish). [1], "San Marino : Customs Unions and preferential arrangements - European commission". Archived from the original on 2012-10-26. Retrieved 2012-09-12.
  3. ^ "Council conclusions on EU relations with EFTA countries" (PDF). Council of the European Union. 2012-12-14. Retrieved 2013-04-01.
  4. ^ "Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee of the Regions - EU Relations with the Principality of Andorra, the Principality of Monaco and the Republic of San Marino - Options for Closer Integration with the EU". 2012.
  5. ^ "Council conclusions on EU relations with the Principality of Andorra, the Republic of San Marino and the Principality of Monaco" (PDF). Council of the European Union. 2012-12-20. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-05-17. Retrieved 2013-04-01.
  6. ^ "Norge sier nei til nye mikrostater i EØS". 2011-05-19. Retrieved 2013-04-06.
  7. ^ "Innlegg på møte i Stortingets europautvalg". Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway. 2013-01-28. Retrieved 2013-04-01.
  8. ^ "Eide: Bedre blir det ikke". 2012-12-21. Archived from the original on 2013-04-13. Retrieved 2013-04-01.
  9. ^ a b Aalberg Undheim, Eva (2012-12-08). "Regjeringa open for diskutere EØS-medlemskap for mikrostatar" (in Norwegian). Retrieved 2013-04-06.
  10. ^ "La Norvegia chiude le porte a San Marino" (PDF). La Tribuna Sammarinese. 2013-01-03. p. 7. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-03-07. Retrieved 2013-04-06.
  11. ^ "EU Relations with the Principality of Andorra, the Principality of Monaco and the Republic of San Marino: Options for their participation in the Internal Market". European Commission. 2013-11-18. Retrieved 2013-11-20.
  12. ^ "Council adopts mandate to negotiate association agreement(s) with Andorra, Monaco and San Marino" (PDF). Council of the European Union. 2014-12-16. Retrieved 2014-12-22.
  13. ^ "RECORDED HRVP Federica MOGHERINI host the ceremony on the occasion of the launching of the Association Agreement(s) negotiations with the Principality of Andorra, the Principality of Monaco and the Republic of San Marino". European Commission. 2015-03-18. Retrieved 2015-03-18.
  14. ^ 'Oldest republic' torn by poll-rig claims, The Australian, 2006-06-06[dead link]
  15. ^ Decision submitted by the Parliamentary Groups of the Majority for a better integration of the Republic of San Marino with the European Union, approved by the Great and General Council during its sitting of 15 December 2010
  16. ^ Summary of the Final Report prepared by the Technical Group for the Assessment of new Policies for the Integration with the European Union - February 2011
  17. ^ "Comitato promotore del referendum propositivo sulla richiesta di adesione all'Unione Europea".
  18. ^ "Comunicato stampa". Comitato promotore del referendum propositivo sulla richiesta di adesione all'Unione Europea. 2010-07-21. Retrieved 2013-04-06.
  19. ^ "Clarification on the campaign for the collection of signatures for a referendum on the accession of San Marino to the European Union". Minister for Foreign Affairs of San Marino. 2010-08-05. Retrieved 2013-04-06.
  20. ^ "Referendum UE: il Collegio Garante dichiara ammissibile il quesito". 2010-11-16. Archived from the original on 2012-09-11. Retrieved 2013-09-15.
  21. ^ a b c Barducci, Sergio (2011-02-24). "I Garanti decidono: il referendum sull'Europa non si farà!". SMtv San Marino. Retrieved 2013-09-15.
  22. ^ "San Marino: richiesta formale di adesione a UE". 2011-02-08. Retrieved 2013-09-15.
  23. ^ "Comunicato stampa". Comitato promotore del referendum propositivo sulla richiesta di adesione all'Unione Europea. 2011-02-25. Retrieved 2013-04-06.
  24. ^ "Ordine del Giorno presentato dai Gruppi e Rappresentanze Consiliari di maggioranza conclusivo del dibattito sull'evoluzione dei rapporti con l'Unione Europea". 2011-06-11. Retrieved 2013-09-15.
  25. ^ "PSRS sull'adesione all'Europa: "profondo rammarico per il mancato accoglimento dell'Istanza d'Arengo"" (in Italian). Sammarinese Reformist Socialist Party. 2011-06-08. Retrieved 2013-09-15.
  26. ^ "SU Europa, "maggiore integrazione" vs "adesione": "desolante lo spettacolo offerto dalla maggioranza"" (in Italian). United Left. 2011-06-08. Retrieved 2013-09-15.
  27. ^ "Istanza adesione Europa, il rammarico dei promotori". 2011-06-14. Archived from the original on 2013-09-15. Retrieved 2013-09-15.
  28. ^ "Referendum adesione San Marino all'UE, depositate le firme". 2012-06-18. Archived from the original on 2013-09-15. Retrieved 2013-09-15.
  29. ^ "DECRETO REGGENZIALE 23 luglio 2013 n.88". 2013-07-23. Retrieved 2013-09-15.
  30. ^ "Referendum: si vota il 20 ottobre". SMtv San Marino. 2013-07-25. Retrieved 2013-09-15.
  31. ^ Referendum 2013 Archived 2013-10-21 at the Wayback Machine Ministry of the Interior
  32. ^ "Tutte le forze politiche si sono schierate circa il referendum sull'Europa". SMtv San Marino. 2013-09-19. Retrieved 2013-09-26.
  33. ^ "DC, maggiore integrazione all'Europa non significa adesione". SMtv San Marino. 2013-09-20. Retrieved 2013-09-26.
  34. ^ "Movimento Rete: no all'Europa ea Pini". SMtv San Marino. 2013-10-07. Retrieved 2013-10-08.
  35. ^ "20 ottobre 2013: referendum adesione Unione Europea". RETE Movement. Retrieved 2013-09-15.
  36. ^ "Referendum Europa: il Ps è per il sì". SMtv San Marino. 2013-09-10. Retrieved 2013-09-15.
  37. ^ "Congresso Psd: si cerca la mediazione su un nome che rappresenti le diverse anime". SMtv San Marino. 2013-09-19. Retrieved 2013-09-26.
  38. ^ "Referendum "europeo": Sinistra Unita dice "Sì"". SMtv San Marino. 2013-09-09. Retrieved 2013-09-15.
  39. ^ "Civico 10. Su Europa e referendum". 2013-09-26. Archived from the original on 2013-09-27. Retrieved 2013-09-26.
  40. ^ "Civico10 sul referendum sull'Europa: vietato votare 'no'". 2013-09-05. Archived from the original on 2013-09-11. Retrieved 2013-09-15.
  41. ^ "Referendum Ue: sì convinto dall'Upr". SMtv San Marino. 2013-09-06. Retrieved 2013-09-15.

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