Monaco and France

Ties between France and Monaco date back to 1489 when the principality of Monaco became independent from the Kingdom of France after Lord Lamberto Grimaldi convinced King Charles VIII of France to grant him sovereignty. Monegasque civil law is governed by the civil code which dates back to the Napoleonic era. The official language of Monaco is French. Aside from Italy, France is the only country to have opened an embassy in Monaco.

A history of Franco-Monegasque relations

King Louis XII officially recognised Monaco in 1512, and signed a treaty of perpetual alliance with the principality. Under Spanish control and the reign of Honoré II Grimaldi, in the early 17th century Monaco prospered and strengthened its ties with France. Ratified by Charles III, the Franco-Monegasque treaty of 1861 saw Monaco relinquishing the towns of Menton and Roquebrune-Cap-Martin to the French in exchange for guaranteed independence from France. Since the end of WWI, France has protected the principality from foreign attacks, despite Monaco also having its own armed forces.

Life in Monaco

French or Italian workers from neighbouring border towns account for 30,000 employees in Monaco.

Political relations

Political relations between France and Monaco have changed significantly over the last few years, moving towards increased sovereignty for the Principality. This is illustrated by three major events: the signing of a friendly treaty in 2002, the signing of a convention of administrative cooperation in 2005 and a strengthening of diplomatic relations with France, with the French Consulate in Monaco having been elevated to the status of embassy in January 1, 2006.

French strategic interests in the Principality remain significant, essentially for economic reasons. Located to the east of the Var region, the Principality is the only area that has experienced economic development (with strong growth over the last decade). This is therefore a major area of employment for the PACA region (100,000 people rely directly or indirectly on Monaco's financial prosperity), and is highly sought-after by Italy.

In light of this fact, all decisions that boost growth in Monaco are fundamental to French interests. On a diplomatic level, the Principality's influence is disproportionate to its size: the charisma displayed by the sovereign Prince, who is very involved in international politics (having set up a number of diplomatic missions and being engaged in environmental causes), a State = an additional voice in international organisations, an additional French-speaking country, potential strategic aspects (Olympic Games applications, as the Prince is a very influential member of the IOC).

Economic relations

1865: Customs agreement between Monaco and France.

1963: On 18 May, Monaco and France joined forces in a renewed customs union. Similarly, the two countries signed a fiscal convention and exchange official notifications with respect to banking regulations. French nationals who became residents in the Principality after 13 October 1957 are subject to French personal income tax.

1999: Monaco is authorised to mint euro coins bearing the Principality's coat of arms at a rate of 1/500 of the French annual volume of coins. Monegasque coins are minted at the Hôtel des Monnaies Paris Mint.

2001: Monetary agreement signed between France (on behalf of the European Commission) and Monaco (for the introduction of the Principality's euros).

2005: Agreement in the form of an exchange of letters relating to guarantees to investors between France and Monaco, signed on 8 November (this draft law was reviewed by the State Council and submitted for parliamentary approval).

2008-2010: Regular Franco-Monegasque discussions concerning the fight against fraud and money laundering.

2011: Tripartite negotiation (France-Monaco-Commission) for a partial review of the monetary agreement of 2001 (increase of the quota for issuing euro coins, without modification to the Paris Mint's monopoly on minting).