U.S. Department of State, January 1999|
Bureau of European Affairs
Area: 1.95 sq. km. (0.8 sq. mi); about the size of New York City's Central Park.
Nationality: Noun and adjective -- Monegasque.
Type: Constitutional monarchy.
GDP: Monaco does not publish economic figures such as gross domestic product, though estimates placed GDP at $788 million in 1994.
In 1995, Monaco's population was estimated at 30,744, with an estimated average growth rate of 0.59%. Monaco-Ville has a population of 1,151.
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.
The Principality of Monaco is the second-smallest independent state in the world, after 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 8o C (47o F); in July and August the average maximum temperature is 26o C (78o F).
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, written into the Treaty of Versailles, established that Monegasque policy would be aligned with French political, military, and economic interests.
Prince Rainier III, the current ruler of Monaco, acceded to the throne following the death of his grandfather, Prince Louis II, in 1949. The current heir apparent, Prince Albert, was born in 1958.
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.
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 four-member Council of Government (cabinet). The Minister of State, who is a French citizen appointed by the Prince for a 3-year term from among several senior French civil servants proposed by the French Government, 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 three other members of the Council are responsible for financial and economic affairs, internal affairs, and public works and social affairs, respectively.
Under the 1962 constitution, the Prince shares his power with the unicameral National Council. The 18 members of this legislative body are elected from lists by universal suffrage for 5-year terms. 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.
Legal power is invested in the Prince, who delegates legal 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 (i.e., 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 Rainier III
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 and account for around 50% of the $586 million annual government income (1997). Similarly, tourism accounts for close to 25% of the annual revenue, as the Principality of Monaco also has been a major center for tourism ever since its famed casino was established in 1856.
Customs, postal services, telecommunications, and banking in Monaco are governed by an economic and customs union with France. Although Monegasque coins are minted and circulated, the official currency is the euro (as of January 1999).
Though official economic statistics are not published, 1994 estimates place the national product at $788 million and the per capita income at $25,000. The unemployment rate is low, at 3.1% (1994).
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.
Monaco actively participates in the United Nations, which it joined in 1993. Monaco also is a member of many international and intergovernmental organizations, including Interpol, UNESCO, and 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 1918, the text of which has international recognition because it is confirmed by Article 436 of the Treaty of Versailles of 1919, which instituted a contractual, bilateral, and reciprocal regime between the two states. 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.
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 French franc (euro as of January 1999) as its official currency.
Monaco has 10 diplomatic missions in Western Europe and a permanent representation at the United Nations. It maintains honorary consulates in 106 cities in 45 countries. Sixty-one countries have consulates general, consulates, or honorary consulates in or accredited to Monaco.
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 Grace Kelly was married to Prince Rainier III. The United States does not have a diplomatic mission located in Monaco. The U.S. Consul General in Marseille, France, is formally accredited to Monaco.
Principal U.S. Official
Consul General (Marseille, France)-- Joyce Leader
The U.S. Consulate General at Marseille is located at 12 Boulevard Paul Peytral, 13286 Marseille Cedex (tel. -(4)-91-54-92-00).
The U.S. Department of State's Consular Information Program provides Consular Information Sheets, Travel Warnings, and Public Announcements. Consular Information Sheets exist for all countries and include information on entry requirements, currency regulations, health conditions, areas of instability, crime and security, political disturbances, and the addresses of the U.S. posts in the country. Travel Warnings are issued when the State Department recommends that Americans avoid travel to a certain country. Public Announcements are issued as a means to disseminate information quickly about terrorist threats and other relatively short-term conditions overseas which pose significant risks to the security of American travelers. Free copies of this information are available by calling the Bureau of Consular Affairs at 202-647-5225 or via the fax-on-demand system: 202-647-3000. Consular Information Sheets and Travel Warnings also are available on the Consular Affairs Internet home page: http://travel.state.gov. Consular Affairs Tips for Travelers publication series, which contain information on obtaining passports and planning a safe trip abroad are on the internet and hard copies can be purchased from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, telephone: 202-512-1800; fax 202-512-2250.
Emergency information concerning Americans traveling abroad may be obtained from the Office of Overseas Citizens Services at (202) 647-5225. For after-hours emergencies, Sundays and holidays, call 202-647-4000.
Passport information can be obtained by calling the National Passport Information Center's automated system ($.35 per minute) or live operators 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (EST) Monday-Friday ($1.05 per minute). The number is 1-900-225-5674 (TDD: 1-900-225-7778). Major credit card users (for a flat rate of $4.95) may call 1-888-362-8668 (TDD: 1-888-498-3648). It also is available on the internet.
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.
Information on travel conditions, visa requirements, currency and customs regulations, legal holidays, and other items of interest to travelers also may be obtained before your departure from a country's embassy and/or consulates in the U.S. (for this country, see "Principal Government Officials" listing in this publication).
U.S. citizens who are long-term visitors or traveling in dangerous areas are encouraged to register at the U.S. embassy upon arrival in a country (see "Principal U.S. Embassy Officials" listing in this publication). This may help family members contact you in case of an emergency.
Further Electronic Information
Department of State Foreign Affairs Network. Available on the Internet, DOSFAN provides timely, global access to official U.S. foreign policy information. Updated daily, DOSFAN includes Background Notes; Dispatch, the official magazine of U.S. foreign policy; daily press briefings; Country Commercial Guides; directories of key officers of foreign service posts; etc. DOSFAN's World Wide Web site is at http://1997-2001.state.gov.
U.S. Foreign Affairs on CD-ROM (USFAC). Published on an annual basis by the U.S. Department of State, USFAC archives information on the Department of State Foreign Affairs Network, and includes an array of official foreign policy information from 1990 to the present. Contact the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, P.O. Box 371954, Pittsburgh, PA 15250-7954. To order, call (202) 512-1800 or fax (202) 512-2250.
National Trade Data Bank (NTDB). Operated by the U.S. Department of Commerce, the NTDB contains a wealth of trade-related information. It is available on the Internet (www.stat-usa.gov) and on CD-ROM. Call the NTDB Help-Line at (202) 482-1986 for more information.
Bureau of European Affairs Background Notes
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