EUROPE/The negotiation marathon with the European Union has begun. Albert II reiterates his objection to any agreement contrary to the Monegasque “particularities”.
The Prince’s objective is clear: “Obtain the greatest possible access to the European Union’s domestic market” through a partnership agreement. There is no question of compromise on vital subjects for Monaco, such as the employment priority, control of the movement of individuals, the company licensing system or social protection. “Monaco is open to some adjustments. But without disrupting our fundamental balances, of course. I have always said that should this agreement jeopardise our particularities, we will forgo it,” Albert II told the local press firmly. He thus confirmed what government minister Gilles Tonelli has often stated in the past.
“A balanced agreement”
The line is clear. To safeguard what are commonly known as the Monegasque ‘particularities’, Monaco will request Brussels for adjustments and exemptions. That will take time. Much time. “The negotiations have not really been initiated in substance and they may take at least two or three years,” the head of state forecasts. When asked about some economic players’concern (particularly the regulated professions that fear their monopoly will be challenged by one of the EU’s fundamentals, free movement), the Prince tried to be reassuring, “If we reach a partnership agreement with the European Union that is balanced and respectful of our particularities, it will give us a lasting framework of cooperation with our European partners. We will not be devoured by the European ogre.” Albert II believes Monaco should not concede to Europhobia. Including, therefore, at policymaker level. “It is only human to have preconceptions and fears of some topics when they are misunderstood or poorly grasped in terms of their technical nature and legal or institutional fine detail. But it is important to gather full information to form an objective opinion,” he murmured. You have been warned!