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New treaty replaces Franco-Monegasque Treaty of 1918

On October 24, 2002, Monaco and France signed a new treaty that materially revised their July 17, 1918, treaty on cooperation and relations. 

The 1918 treaty reflected the status at the end of the First World War.  The Prince did not have an heir, and a German branch of the Grimaldi family might have succeeded to the Monegasque crown.  That would have been unacceptable to France, as France and Germany had just concluded a major war.  Consequently, France had a legitimate interest in preventing a German from becoming the Prince of Monaco.   

The new treaty centers on three fundamental principles of international law: sovereignty, equality of nations, and reciprocity.  

The old limitations on succession no longer exist.  Rather the new treaty applies the succession rules in the April 2002 revision of Monaco’s constitution.  As only a member of the Grimaldi dynasty can assume the throne, the threat that Monaco could become a French protectorate no longer exists.  Monaco will only inform France if there is a change in the order of succession, which is something that is virtually public knowledge.   

The new treaty greatly increases Monaco’s ability to conduct it own foreign relations.  The Principality may freely establish diplomatic relationship with other countries.  The treaty does not prevent other countries from establishing embassies in the Principality.  France also has the option of opening an embassy in Monaco.   

While, the new treaty may not change much of every day life in Monaco, it is an important first step in the process of reviewing Monaco’s relationship with France.  Among other matters, the next steps may include review of those positions in the Monaco Government that French nationals must hold by statute.  Monaco may well wish to have Monegasque nationals in these positions.    

Monaco seems confident this new treaty will facilitate its admission to the European Council.  When Monaco started negotiations with Strasbourg about becoming a member of the European Council, one of the matters the Council asked Monaco to clarify was its relationship with France and how it affected Monaco’s sovereignty.  This new treaty should make it clear the Principality is an independent and sovereign State. 

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