MC State News: Bilateral Relations with China
Bilateral Relations with China Signing of an Agreement to Benefit Diplomats
As part of the Official Visit of H.S.H. the Sovereign Prince to China, an Agreement on visa exemptions for travel by holders of diplomatic passports was signed with the People’s Republic of China.
At his meeting with H.S.H. the Sovereign Prince, held in the presence of H.E. Ms. Catherine Fautrier, Ambassador of Monaco to China, and the Monegasque delegation, President Xi Jinping welcomed the signing of this agreement, which facilitates diplomatic relations between the two countries.
The Agreement was established in the form of an exchange of Notes Verbales between the Principality of Monaco and the People’s Republic of China on 7 September 2018 in Beijing, and will enter into force on 8 October 2018.
Minister of Finance discusses the future of Monaco’s many Construction Sites
At a recent press conference, Jean Castellini, Minister of Finance, responded to some questions before the National Council’s upcoming budgetary meeting, which will take place on 8, 10 and 12 October. He spoke in length about the Principality’s numerous construction projects, including the CHPG, Islet Pasteur, Jardins d’Apolline, Helios and Odéon Tower.
The Jardins d’Apolline disaster has cost an astounding 50 million euros for its partial reconstruction. As for the Hélios building, Jean Castellini hopes for a more reasonable price for the high-quality that is expected in Monaco.
Although there are some similarities between Helios and the Jardins d’Apolline, it’s important to see them as two isolated cases. Helios will need some renovation work, but not the extensive reconstruction that Apolline needed. Occupants will be relocated for between five to six months with free rents. One major thing that differs from Apolline is that the Helios manufacturer has quickly admitted that they are at fault.
As for the Odéon Tower, built by Vinci, the Minister of Finance does not think that the inconvenience suffered by the tower is comparable to the magnitude of Apolline, or even Helios.
Concerning the CHPG workshop delays, the Minister of Finance confesses that older budget estimates were too optimistic. The original 750 million euro budget has risen, after fifteen years, to over one billion euros. Jean Castellini said that although it is a very complicated site which poses urban circulation challenges, the project is currently in a readjustment phase and he is confident the project will catch up to its new deadlines.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the Îlot Pasteur construction site, which is at a complete standstill. After ten years of construction, there are still complex structural problems which cannot be resolved within the foreseeable future.
According to the Chairman of the Finance and National Economy Committee, Balthazar Seydoux, the Principality is doing very well financially. After experiencing significant budgetary surpluses since 2012, Monaco has the financing capacity for many urban projects. The amending budget is presented with a surplus, with 36 million purchases in addition to the budget already registered to the Constitutional Reserve Fund. This means the actual surplus, will probably be well over 100 million euros, according to Balthazar Seydoux.
Monaco’s Healthy Tourism Industry
Monaco’s tourism and business tourism industries are doing strongly, according to the Minister of Finance, Jean Castellini. Although the Principality’s occupancy rate for tourists is stable at around 80% over the summer season, the average price per room is up from June to August as well as the average revenue per room. Monaco’s occupancy rate is lower than it was in 2015, which was a record year, but the average room revenue has gone from 360 to more than 400 euros.
Ecole de Fontvieille celebrates 30th birthday!
Since 1988, Ecole de Fontvieille has opened its doors to more than 1,200 children! To mark its 30th birthday, head teacher Véronique Caselles brought together all of the staff and pupils.
Before an audience including Patrice Cellario, Minister of the Interior, and Isabelle Bonnal, Director of Education, Youth and Sport, pupils performed a song composed specially for the occasion.
Two large collages, one in black and white, the other in colour, made up of photos of current and past pupils, now decorate the walls of the school’s playgrounds.