Background Notes: Monaco, January 1999
Released by the Bureau of European Affairs
U.S. Department of State
OFFICIAL NAME: Principality of Monaco
Area: 1.95 sq. km. (0.8 sq. mi); about the size of New York City's
Cities: Capital--Monaco-Ville, pop. 1,151 (1990).
Nationality: Noun and adjective--Monegasque.
Population (1995): 30,744.
Annual growth rate (1996 est.): 0.59% .
Ethnic Groups (1995): Monegasque 22%, French 35%, Italian 18%, other
Religion: Roman Catholic 95%, other 5%.
Languages: French (official), English, Italian, and Monegasque
(a blend of French and Italian).
Education: Years compulsory--10, ages 6-16. Attendance--99%. Literacy-
Health (1997): Infant mortality--7/1,000. Life expectancy--74.18 male;
Number of births (1997): 713
Number of deaths (1997): 485
Work force (32,691): Private sector--29,311; public sector--3,380.
Services--46%, banking--7%, tourism and hotel--17%, retail--12%,
construction and public works--7%, industry--11%.
Type: Constitutional monarchy.
Constitution: December 17, 1962.
Branches: Executive--Prince Rainier III (chief of state). Legislative-
-National Council (18 members). Judicial--Court of First Instance,
Court of Appeal, High Court of Appeal, Criminal Court, Supreme Court.
Subdivisions: Four quarters (quartiers)-- Monaco-Ville, La Condamine,
Political Parties: National and Democratic Union (UND), Campora List,
Suffrage: Universal adult at age 25.
Flag: Top band red; bottom white.
GDP: Monaco does not publish economic figures such as gross domestic
product, though estimates placed GDP at $788 million in 1994.
Average annual growth rate: Not available.
Per capita GDP: Estimated at $25,000.
Industry: Types--tourism, construction, chemicals, food products,
plastics, precision instruments, cosmetics, ceramics.
Trade: Imports--about $415,272; Exports--about $415,272.
Currency: Monaco used the French franc as its currency until January
1999, when Monaco switched to the Euro with others of the European
Union. As in the past, special Monegasque coins will continue to
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) are also 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
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
Minister of State--Michel Leveque
Council of Government:
Finance and Economic Affairs--Henri Fissore
Public Works and Social Affairs--Michel Sosso
National Council President--Jean-Louis Campora
President of Supreme Court--Rene-Jean Dupuy
Director of Judicial Services--Noel Musieux
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 is also 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
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).
TRAVEL AND BUSINESS INFORMATION
The U.S. Department of State's Consular Information Program provides
Travel Warnings and Consular Information Sheets. Travel Warnings are
issued when the State Department recommends that Americans avoid travel
to a certain country. Consular Information Sheets exist for all
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disseminate information quickly about terrorist threats and other
relatively short-term conditions overseas which pose significant risks
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or via the fax-on-demand system: 202-647-3000. Travel Warnings and
Consular Information Sheets also are available on the Consular Affairs
Internet home page: http://travel.state.gov and the Consular Affairs
Bulletin Board (CABB). To access CABB, dial the modem number: 301-946-
4400 (it will accommodate up to 33,600 bps), set terminal
communications program to N-8-1(no parity, 8 bits, 1 stop bit); and
terminal emulation to VT100. The login is travel and the password is
info. (Note: Lower case is required). The CABB also carries
international security information from the Overseas Security Advisory
Council and Department's Bureau of Diplomatic Security. Consular
Affairs Trips for Travelers publication series, which contain
information on obtaining passports and planning a safe trip abroad, can
be purchased from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government
Printing Office, P.O. Box 371954, Pittsburgh, PA 15250-7954; 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-
Passport Services information can be obtained by calling the 24-hour,
7-day a week 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).
Travelers can check the latest health information with the U.S. Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia. A hotline at
(404) 332-4559 gives 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
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
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