Volltext: Very small countries: economic success against all odds

sector. The industrial sector accounts for the remaining half of GDP, whereas agriculture and natural resource exploitation is negligible. Even though the financial service sector accounts for about 28% of GDP, the economy of Liechtenstein is – all in all – highly diversified and compa- rable those of larger European countries. Comparatively low business taxes and easy incorporation rules have induced many holding or so- called letter box companies to establish nominal offices in Liechtenstein. These are an important source of public revenues. Note that Liechten - stein is more dependent on daily commuters from abroad (Austria and Switzerland) than any other VSC. About one-third of its workforce does not live in Liechtenstein. Liechtenstein exports machinery, dental pro- ducts and a wide variety of other commodities mainly to EEA countries and Switzerland. Important imports include foodstuffs and manufac - tured goods as well as a variety of other products. Liechtenstein imports from and exports to the same partners. The population of Liechtenstein is rather homogeneous, although the proportion of foreigners formally is very high. Most of them are, how ever Austrians and Swiss as well as a few Germans. German is the official 
language. Luxembourg Luxembourg is a special VSC in several respects. Perhaps due to its size (more than 400,000 inhabitants) it is sometimes not classified as a VSC at all. Though, we suppose that this (mis-)classification is mainly a conse- quence of Luxembourg’s full integration in the international political and economic system by being a member of the EU, NATO, the OECD and the OSCE. Furthermore, Luxem bourg is non-negligible at least in the European context, because many important EU decisions require unanimity of member states, and Luxem bourg’s voting power is there- fore far beyond its size. The Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg achieved in- dependence in 1815 and is hence one of the «older» VSC. Unemployment rate is the lowest or among the lowest in the EU 15; inflation is not a problem either. Luxembourg’s currency, the Luxem - bourg franc, vanished at the end of 2001 due to the introduction of the euro. With regard to the economic structure, Luxembourg does not dif- fer very much from other EU member countries. The proportion of the 150 
The economics of sovereignty: «secrets of success» of very small countries


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