Due to the national holiday, HSH Prince Albert II has traditionally given an exclusive interview to Monaco-Matin. Despite concerns about the current situation in the world, he is positive about Monaco’s situation: “The Principality remains stable, continues to prosper with the confidence of the population.”  

Above all, the head of state wants to make it clear that calm must return after some incidents, which have occurred in recent months. He immediately puts the responsibility on the National Council, whose 27 members did not want to vote in protest at the last vote for next year’s budget. Prince Albert responded to this by stating that he calls on the National Council to adopt a constructive attitude. “We are evolving in an international environment with multiple crises and it is important for everyone to be aware of the implications of these new challenges with responsibility and realism. It is up to us to avoid sterile and unnecessary tensions. We need to continue the dialogue, to find the right solutions. It is legitimate for everyone to be able to express themselves.”  

Regarding parliament’s doubts about next year’s budget, the Prince said: “I think there is a common desire to control costs in a thoughtful way. I asked them for solutions to be found to make the best possible choices for the Principality. Everyone agrees that investments should continue to be invested in structuring projects, which are important for the development of the Principality, at costs that can be reduced to the State budget. I believe that the elected members of the National Council want to play their role in accordance with the constitution. It’s very good that there are discussions if they are constructive…”  

The head of state elaborates on certain topics. For example, he makes it clear that the spectacular renovation plans of the shopping centre in Fontvieille will not be carried out for the time being, due to the high financial sacrifices and the inconvenience to the surrounding area. “I confirm that the planned project, which is very beautiful aesthetically but too important, will be shrunk. The aim is to eventually have a modern shopping centre, adapted to the Principality and meeting the expectations of Monegasques, residents, and visitors. This resizing operation will make it possible to integrate a sufficiently diversified and attractive offer, in good understanding with all the Principality’s businesses. The idea of having a cinema in this shopping mall will be maintained.”  

Another tricky topic for many Monegasques is the traffic situation because the country seems to be getting congested and there are countless traffic jams every day. What does the Sovereign think he can do about it? “The number of employees has doubled in 30 years, which is great for the development of the Principality but also creates other problems that we need to solve. Mobility must take many forms. The private car can no longer be the main answer to this problem, it is necessary to manage to transport many people in the most environmentally-friendly way possible. There is no quick fix. We will not be able to create parking lots every year. (…) I also understand that the economic context is leading to an increase in the cost of living for many of our employees. I think we need to move towards at least hybrid, electric or hydrogen vehicles. The dynamism of the Principality, which is accelerating more and more, requires us to take a long-term view to find solutions now, for the near future and that can last for a few years. It is a set of measures to move towards improvement.”  

Prince Albert also reacts to the interruption of Monaco’s negotiations with the EU on possible membership: “Suspending negotiations does not mean breaking off dialogue, and we are not excluded from events that affect the necessary dialogue between European countries. The Principality remains a partner of the European Union. Maros Sefcovic (vice-president of the European Commission) assured me that the dialogue would continue, in various forms, in the years to come. It’s important. I believe that it is up to us to find innovative solutions that will ensure that Monaco has the means to develop while preserving its economic and social model.”  

The head of state is not worried that Monaco will soon receive a reprimand by Moneyvall’s investigators in the form of a place on the famous ‘grey list’. “All of the Principality’s economic and legislative players have fully understood the absolute priority at the international level of complying with the highest standards in the fight against money laundering. The involvement is there, strong, general. SICCFIN has been transformed into an administrative authority, and we have greatly increased its staff. Seventy jobs will be created by next year, which is significant for a country of our size. I reaffirm the Principality’s unwavering commitment to continue to combat money laundering, the financing of terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. This is not a façade speech, it is a sincere, open will. Major progress has already been made. All the teams are working hard, I have confidence in them. We very much hope that this will be successful at the end of the review.”  

Featured image courtesy of the Prince’s Palace