Monaco’s Minister of State, Pierre Dartout, accompanied by government councillors, recently held a press conference to convey New Year wishes and provide a detailed outlook on the challenges and prospects facing the Principality in 2024. Dartout addressed various critical aspects, ranging from the international landscape to economic performance, budgetary policies, and future plans.
Complex International Context
Reflecting on a challenging 2023 amidst a difficult international context, Dartout acknowledged the uncertainties and anxieties prevalent on the global stage. In contrast Monaco has solid fundamentals and robust economic performance. But given the challenges faced by other countries he emphasized the need to navigate international competition actively.
Ambitious Yet Realistic Objectives
Highlighting Monaco’s clear, ambitious, yet realistic objectives for 2024, Dartout emphasized the importance of not remaining stagnant. He stressed the need to incorporate new technologies and consistently monitor Monaco’s attractiveness.
Economic Performance in 2023
Monaco experienced positive economic performance in 2023, with the tourism sector standing out, particularly during year-end festivities. Results showed a significant increase, surpassing average occupancy rates in hotels both during Christmas and particularly so at New Year, reflecting a promising outlook for the tourism industry. Guy Antognelli, the Director of Tourism and Congress in Monaco, is reported as expecting a substantial return of Italian visitors, a recovery of British tourists despite economic challenges and Brexit, and the strengthening of the American clientele. The outlook also includes a significant rebound in business tourism to pre-crisis levels.
Future Challenges and Vigilance
Looking ahead to 2024, Dartout highlighted both local and international challenges. He underscored the importance of vigilance, adaptability, and adherence to Monaco’s principle of zero debt. The Minister stressed the need for precise and rigorous expense management to ensure sufficient revenues. This means giving robust financial support to agreed strategic initiatives and scaling the support realistically with respect to other projects. That requires firm budgetary management.
Commitment to Financial Transparency and Independent Evaluations
Dartout discussed the government’s full commitment to upcoming evaluations, such as the Moneyval evaluation in May-June 2024 including the visit of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to ensure that the Monegasque state has done what is necessary to bring its legislative framework for combating money laundering and terrorist financing in line with European standards. The other international initiative, this time led by the Council of Europe, will be the Greco. The government has been led to take fairly strict measures, desired and implemented by the sovereign, especially concerning the ethics to be respected on this subject, Monaco is committed to be exemplary.
Recently, every government minister must declare their assets and interests.
Dialogue and Improved Relations
The Minister of State touched upon the improved relations with the National Council, particularly between October and December, and the support for the 2024 budget showcasing a more collaborative approach following the exploration of the promising options for the future expansion and total redesign of the Fontvieille Commercial Centre. The importance of dialogue and mutual understanding was highlighted as Monaco faces significant investments in the next decade.
Challenges of Monaco’s Topography
Dartout acknowledged the challenges posed by Monaco’s unique topography, characterized by constrained and rugged environments. Building in such conditions comes with technical difficulties and associated costs, as seen in projects like the new CHPG and the ongoing Bel Air demolition.
Focus on Security and Public Safety
Patrice Cellario, government minister of the interior, confirmed the ongoing relocation of Public Safety agents to renovated premises on Rue Suffren-Reymond. The importance of security was underlined, with Prince Albert II set to inaugurate these new premises in January.
Local mobility concerns were addressed, with Dartout confirming ongoing discussions about the construction of a tunnel following the recent A8 motorway ramp inauguration.
Social Responsibility and Preventive Measures
In response to tragic road accidents, Dartout expressed personal support for random alcohol checks initiated by judicial authorities and advocated both repressive and preventive actions. He recognized initiatives like Be Safe, emphasizing the importance of community support for the well-being of young people.
As Monaco faces a dynamic year ahead, Dartout’s comprehensive overview provides insight into the Principality’s resilience, strategic vision, and commitment to navigating challenges while maintaining its unique identity and strengths.