On Tuesday 12th April 2011, His Excellency Mr Gilles Tonelli, Ambassador of Monaco to the European Union, travelled to Brussels to appear before the Council of Europe’s EFTA (European Free Trade Association) in order to give a presentation on the Principality of Monaco and its specificities.
This presentation was organised on the initiative of the Hungarian Presidency, within the context of the implementation of the provisions of the Lisbon Treaty concerning the relationship between the European Union and the Small States of Europe.
H.E. Mr Gilles Tonelli enlarged upon the Principality’s main characteristics: its history, its population, its institutions, its economy and its social system.
In addition, the status quo regarding the relations between Monaco and the European Union was provided.
Although it is not a member of the latter, the Principality is part of the Customs Union and the Euro Area.
In his address, H.E. Mr Gilles Tonelli reaffirmed the Government of Monaco’s position which is keen to develop in a pragmatic manner its relations with the European Union, whilst not forgoing the consideration of Monaco’s specificities as a City-State where the national community is very much a minority. From this point of view, the Principality’s situation cannot be compared to that of the other Small States of Europe.
Last but not least, it was pointed out that the future of relations between the European Union and Monaco can only be envisaged if Monaco’s distinctive features are preserved, especially in terms of priority for housing, employment and authorisation to conduct a commercial or professional activity.
Following the presentation, constructive discussions were held with the representatives of the various countries of the European Union. The meeting thus enabled the participants to gain a better understanding of the Principality and its specificities.