The founder

The recent history of the Principality of Andorra has been marked by the depth of the institutional and socio-economic transformations that have substantially modified the rules for living within the Andorran community. What was, until not many decades ago, a small country with a rural, subsistence economy became, at the end of the millennium, a small state of law which, while preserving the best of its traditional identity, has managed to open itself up to the complex nature of the current world with prudence and has become recognised and homologated by the international community.

It has been a slow process not without contradictions and difficulties. To make it fully feasible, the efforts and the dedication of several generations of Andorran people have been necessary to prepare the ground to consolidate a modern, integrating project that includes the centenary agreements that were the legacy of our predecessors in the new rules.

Among those who have worked in favour of the progress and modernisation of the Principality, Julià Reig has been a notable protagonist, both as a businessman and a banker, as well as for being a prominent politician at the service of his country. Many of the challenges that we have overcome have their origin in that innovative spirit that Julià Reig’s political and business life set, along with his inseparable brother, collaborator and friend, Serafí Reig Ribó.

Those of us who have benefitted from the results of his legacy are grateful for the spirit of openness and progress that were part of his character. One way to show this is the constitution of a non-profit foundation which promotes and supports initiatives that arise from Andorran civil society and which may have a real influence on the opening and effective progress of the Principality.

Òscar Ribas Reig,
President, January 1999

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JULIÀ REIG RIBÓ

Julià Reig Ribó (1911–1996) was born on the 5th of December 1911 in Sant Julià de Lòria. He was a General Councillor of the General Council of the Valleys of Andorra from 1948 to 1959 and was elected as its General Syndic from 1960 to 1966 and later re-elected from 1966 to 1978. During his term of office, he promoted the creation of the Social Security (1966) and the opening up of the country to the exterior. He carried out a series of reforms, including the Co-Princes’ Decree (1981) which, years later, would lead to the first Constitution of the Principality of Andorra (1993).

In the industrial area, he directed the family tobacco company, Tabacs Reig, founded in 1880 by his grandfather Rafael Reig Sans. In 1956, he founded the Banca Reig of which he was president until his death in 1996.

The Fundació Julià Reig was named in honour of Julià Reig Ribó. A foundation is a heritage assigned to a purpose and is usually, as in this case, a project and some money that the patrons donate to a cause of general interest. Constituting and providing funds to a foundation of these characteristics was part of what Julià Reig Ribó understood as “an entrepreneur fitting into the community and the society in which he develops his activity.” This is what his successors have also understood and this is the spirit that they would like to govern their activity; that of also being entrepreneurs in actions of general interest.