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U.S. Department of State Background Note

Monaco

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Monaco

GEOGRAPHY

The Principality of Monaco is the second-smallest independent state in the world, after the Holy See (Vatican City). It is located on the Mediterranean coast, 18 kilometers (11 mi.) east of Nice, France, and is surrounded on three sides by France. Monaco is divided into four sections: Monaco-Ville, the old city on a rocky promontory extending into the Mediterranean; La Condamine, the section along the port; Monte-Carlo, the principal residential and resort area; and Fontvieille, a newly constructed area reclaimed from the sea.

The principality is noted for its beautiful natural scenery and mild, sunny climate. The average minimum temperature in January and February is 8oC (47oF); in July and August the average maximum temperature is 26oC (78oF).

PEOPLE

In July 2006, Monaco's population was estimated at 32,543, with an estimated average growth rate for 2007 of 0.386%.

French is the official language; English, Italian, and Monegasque (a blend of French and Italian) also are spoken. The literacy rate is 99%. Roman Catholicism is the official religion, with freedom of other religions guaranteed by the constitution.

HISTORY

Founded in 1215 as a colony of Genoa, Monaco has been ruled by the House of Grimaldi since 1297, except when under French control from 1789 to 1814. Designated as a protectorate of Sardinia from 1815 until 1860 by the Treaty of Vienna, Monaco's sovereignty was recognized by the Franco-Monegasque Treaty of 1861. The Prince of Monaco was an absolute ruler until a constitution was promulgated in 1911.

In July 1918, a treaty was signed providing for limited French protection over Monaco. The treaty, formally noted in the Treaty of Versailles, established that Monegasque policy would be aligned with French political, military, and economic interests.

A new constitution, proclaimed in 1962, abolished capital punishment, provided for female suffrage, and established a Supreme Court to guarantee fundamental liberties.

In 1993, Monaco became an official member of the United Nations with full voting rights. It joined the Council of Europe in 2004.

Three months after the death of his father, Prince Rainier III, on April 6, Prince Albert II formally acceded to the throne on July 12, 2005.

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS

Monaco has been governed as a constitutional monarchy since 1911, with the Prince as chief of state. The executive branch consists of a Minister of State (head of government), who presides over a five-member Council of Government (cabinet). The Minister of State is responsible for foreign relations. As the Prince's representative, the Minister of State also directs the executive services, commands the police, and presides (with voting powers) over the Council of Government. The five members of the Council are respectively responsible for internal affairs, external affairs, the environment, finance and economy, and social affairs and health.

Under the 1962 constitution, the Prince shares his power with the unicameral National Council. Sixteen of the 24 members of this legislative body are elected by list majority system, and 8 by proportional representation to serve 5-year terms. The elections were last held on February 9, 2003, and will be held next in February 2008. If the Prince dissolves the National Council, new elections must be held within 3 months. Usually meeting twice annually, the Council votes on the budget and endorses laws proposed by the Prince.

Ordinances passed by the National Council are debated in the Council of Government, as are the ministerial decrees signed by the Minister of State. Once approved, the ordinances must be submitted to the Prince within 80 days for his signature, which makes them legally enforceable. If he does not express opposition within 10 days of submission, they become valid.

Judicial power is invested in the Prince, who delegates judicial procedures to the various courts, which dispense justice in his name. The independence of the judges is guaranteed by the constitution. The Supreme Court is composed of five chief members and two assistant judges named by the Prince on the basis of nominations by the National Council and other government bodies. The Supreme Court is the highest court for judicial appeals and also interprets the constitution when necessary. Monaco's legal system, closely related to that of France, is patterned after the Napoleonic Code.

The principality's local affairs (the administration of the four quarters of Monaco-Ville, La Condamine, Monte Carlo, and Fontvieille) are directed by the Communal Council, which consists of 15 elected members and is presided over by the Mayor.

Principal Government Officials
Chief of State--Prince Albert II, Crown Prince
Minister of State--Jean-Paul Proust
Ambassador to the United States and United Nations--Gilles Noghes

Council of Government
Interior--Paul Masseron
Exterior--Jean Pastorelli
Finance and Economic Affairs--Gilles Tonelli
Social Affairs and Health--Jean-Jacques Campana
Environment, Equipment and Urbanism--Robert Calcagno

National Council President--Stephane Valeri
President of Supreme Court--Roland Drago
Director of Judicial Services--Philippe Narmino

ECONOMY

Monaco, located on the Mediterranean coast, has an economy primarily geared toward finance, commerce, and tourism. Low taxes have drawn many foreign companies to Monaco; the companies' production accounts for around 50% of the €593 million annual government income (2002). The enterprises pay a 33.33% tax only if more than 25% of their revenue is generated abroad. Ever since Monaco's famed casino opened in 1856, the tourism industry has been booming. It currently accounts for close to 25% of the annual revenue.

Customs, postal services, telecommunications, and banking in Monaco are governed by an economic and customs union with France. The official currency is the euro.

Though official economic statistics are not published, 2006 estimates placed the gross domestic product at $976.3 million and the per capita income at $30,000. Monaco does not publish the figures for unemployment, but in 2005 the rate was estimated to be at 0%.

Monaco is noted for its activity in the field of marine sciences. Its Oceanographic Museum, formerly directed by Jacques Cousteau, is one of the most renowned institutions of its kind in the world. Monaco imports and exports products and services from all over the world. There is no commercial agriculture in Monaco.

FOREIGN RELATIONS

Monaco actively participates in the United Nations, which it joined in 1993. Monaco joined the Council of Europe on October 4, 2004. Monaco also is a member of many international and intergovernmental organizations, including Interpol, the UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and the World Health Organization (WHO). The International Hydrographic Bureau (IHB) is headquartered in Monaco.

The Principality of Monaco is a sovereign and independent state, linked closely to France by the Treaty of July 1918, which was formally noted in Article 436 of the Treaty of Versailles of 1919. The foreign policy of Monaco is one illustration of this accord: France has agreed to defend the independence and sovereignty of Monaco, while the Monegasque Government has agreed to exercise its sovereign rights in conformity with French interests. Since then, the relations between the sovereign states of France and Monaco have been further defined in the Treaty of 1945 and the Agreement of 1963.

In 2002, Monaco renegotiated its 1918 treaty with France. In 2005, it was ratified by both parties and entered into force. The terms of the treaty:

  • Upgrade France's representation in Monaco from Consulate General to that of an embassy;
  • Permit, for the first time, other countries to accredit ambassadors to Monaco; and
  • Formally recognize the succession scheme set out in the 1962 Constitution, which extends eligibility to the Prince's daughters and other family members.

Although not a member of the European Union (EU), Monaco is closely associated with the economic apparatus of the EU through its customs union with France and its reliance upon the euro as its official currency.

Monaco has 10 diplomatic missions in Western Europe and permanent representation at the United Nations and the Council of Europe. It maintains honorary consulates in 106 cities in 45 countries. Seventy-six countries have consulates general, consulates, or honorary consulates in or accredited to Monaco.

U.S.-MONACO RELATIONS

The United States and Monaco enjoy excellent relations, which both countries seek to maintain and strengthen. From 1956 until her death in 1982, the American-born Grace Kelly was married to Prince Rainier III, Prince Albert's father. The United States does not yet have a diplomatic mission located in Monaco.

In December 2006, the United States and Monaco upgraded from consular to full diplomatic relations. Shortly after, Ambassador Craig Stapleton (France) was accredited to Monaco, and Ambassador Gilles Noghes became the first Monegasque ambassador to the United States.

Principal U.S. Official

Ambassador (Paris, France)-- Craig Stapleton

The U.S. Embassy in France is located at 2 Avenue Gabriel, Paris 8 (tel. [33] (1) 4312-2222). The U.S. Consulate General at Marseille is located at Place Varian Fry, 13286 Marseille Cedex 6 (tel. [33]-(4)-91-54-92-00).

TRAVEL AND BUSINESS INFORMATION
The U.S. Department of State's Consular Information Program advises Americans traveling and residing abroad through Consular Information Sheets, Public Announcements, and Travel Warnings. Consular Information Sheets exist for all countries and include information on entry and exit requirements, currency regulations, health conditions, safety and security, crime, political disturbances, and the addresses of the U.S. embassies and consulates abroad. Public Announcements are issued to disseminate information quickly about terrorist threats and other relatively short-term conditions overseas that pose significant risks to the security of American travelers. Travel Warnings are issued when the State Department recommends that Americans avoid travel to a certain country because the situation is dangerous or unstable.

For the latest security information, Americans living and traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs Internet web site at http://www.travel.state.gov, where the current Worldwide Caution, Public Announcements, and Travel Warnings can be found. Consular Affairs Publications, which contain information on obtaining passports and planning a safe trip abroad, are also available at http://www.travel.state.gov. For additional information on international travel, see http://www.usa.gov/Citizen/Topics/Travel/International.shtml.

The Department of State encourages all U.S citizens traveling or residing abroad to register via the State Department's travel registration website or at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate abroad. Registration will make your presence and whereabouts known in case it is necessary to contact you in an emergency and will enable you to receive up-to-date information on security conditions.

Emergency information concerning Americans traveling abroad may be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S. and Canada or the regular toll line 1-202-501-4444 for callers outside the U.S. and Canada.

The National Passport Information Center (NPIC) is the U.S. Department of State's single, centralized public contact center for U.S. passport information. Telephone: 1-877-4USA-PPT (1-877-487-2778). Customer service representatives and operators for TDD/TTY are available Monday-Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 12:00 midnight, Eastern Time, excluding federal holidays.

Travelers can check the latest health information with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia. A hotline at 877-FYI-TRIP (877-394-8747) and a web site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel/index.htm give the most recent health advisories, immunization recommendations or requirements, and advice on food and drinking water safety for regions and countries. A booklet entitled "Health Information for International Travel" (HHS publication number CDC-95-8280) is available from the U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402, tel. (202) 512-1800.

Further Electronic Information
Department of State Web Site. Available on the Internet at http://www.state.gov, the Department of State web site provides timely, global access to official U.S. foreign policy information, including Background Notes and daily press briefings along with the directory of key officers of Foreign Service posts and more. The Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) provides security information and regional news that impact U.S. companies working abroad through its website http://www.osac.gov

Export.gov provides a portal to all export-related assistance and market information offered by the federal government and provides trade leads, free export counseling, help with the export process, and more.

STAT-USA/Internet, a service of the U.S. Department of Commerce, provides authoritative economic, business, and international trade information from the Federal government. The site includes current and historical trade-related releases, international market research, trade opportunities, and country analysis and provides access to the National Trade Data Bank.

Revised: Jun. 2007

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