“The current situation calls for vigilance by all and we know that we can count on the services in charge of security to ensure effective monitoring and necessary actions.”
During his vows to the Monegasque population, the Sovereign declared eight messages. Some are clear, others more subtle.
In three minutes and twenty-two seconds, Prince Albert II achieved a tour de force during the traditional video addressed to compatriots, residents and friends of the Principality on Saturday evening. He evoked eight themes which are dear to him. Eight strong messages, looking at 2016 in the rear-view mirror and looking forward towards 2017. Subjects from terrorism to Europe, solidarity, environment and domestic politics.
1. The attacks
Fatefully, inexorably, unfortunately, the sovereign opened his speech on the terrorist attacks that hit the world in general and France and Nice in particular, in 2016 – not knowing Istanbul was going to be attacked on New Year’s Eve. “The year ends while many countries are experiencing violence, terrorist acts, conflicts, humanitarian crises.” The Prince believes that “our traditional exchange of vows” seem all the more necessary. “It is from the bottom of our hearts that with Princess Charlène and our children Jacques and Gabriella, we present you our best wishes for a serene, happy and peaceful 2017 year.” And for 2017 to mitigate the pains of 2016, Albert II calls “the people (to mobilize) to draw together, with their leaders, for justice and peace (in order to allow) the return of unity and security”.
If the year 2016 was marked by terrorism, which struck only a few kilometers from the Principality, we will also remember the formidable outbursts of solidarity and courage that have manifested themselves. “In the chaos of suffering,” says the sovereign, “men, women and young people rise up, and, against all odds, convey acts of generosity at the service of their fellow community”.”May this holiday season inspire demonstrations of solidarity, often discreet, but so comforting,” adds Prince Albert II, who reminds us how the country, long ago, tried “to remain close to these situations of human distress”. The many acts of solidarity carried out in Monaco throughout the year attest. Two examples among dozens of others, in 2016: the Monegasque Red Cross helped migrants trapped in Ventimiglia; The Guardian Angels of Monaco, each Monday, distributed meals, sleeping bags and human kindness to the SDF in Nice.
3. The Economy
One of the attractions of the Principality is its wealth. The sovereign did not fail to recall his “opportunity to direct a prosperous country “. And this, “thanks to the efforts of everyone”. “Everyone here is thanked for their work, for the confidence they place in Monaco and for their contribution to living together.”
The other key asset that makes Monaco attractive, particularly during this dark period on the other side of the border, is the security conditions. “The current situation calls for vigilance by all and we know that we can count on the services in charge of security to ensure effective monitoring and necessary actions.”
5. The Environment
In 2016, Monaco ratified the Paris Climate Agreement. Prince Albert II has not waited for the signing of the international agreement to make this concern a priority. Protecting the environment and oceans will continue in 2017: “I will continue to work; internationally, so the commitments made for the environment….are upheld and strengthened.” “Awareness that global warming and its causes are irreversible,” says the sovereign. An affirmation directed, perhaps, to those questioning the Paris Agreement, influenced by Donald Trump during the US presidential campaign.
One single sentence, a preface, without any explanation:”I am determined with my government to continue to fight against other scourges, including corruption.” What does Prince Albert II allude to with this warning? Probably the alleged bribery case updated at the end of November. In this case, current and former Police officials are suspected of having aided in the issuance of fictitious residence permits for remuneration. The case is being conducted in Belgium and Monaco.
This is the major issue of the period. It is decisive for the future of the Principality, since it will define the conditions for the widest possible participation of Monaco in the European market, while respecting the essential vital interests of the Principality. The negotiations with the European Union, begun in 2016, will continue in 2017 “step by step, in objectivity and lucidity, without bias. The necessary weighings will be made when the time comes, to preserve our specificities without ever departing from the balance that has always been our strength,” says Prince Albert II.
The year 2017 will also mark the start of the national elections in March 2018. There will certainly be a lively debate between candidates entering the arena. It is probably in this light that we must interpret the very clear message of the sovereign: “I call on our community to remain united and cooperative around our institutions: they have proved that they are the guarantor of our stability and progress.” A recommendation to avoid falling back into the violence and riots of the 2013 national campaign.