Between June 28th and 30th, 2023, the working group of the European Union Council on EFTA (European Free Trade Association) took part in a study trip to the Principality. The trip was a part of the ongoing negotiations that Monaco has been conducting for eight years with the European Union, aiming for the conclusion of an Association Agreement.
The European delegation, comprised of representatives from member states, the General Secretariat of the EU Council, and the General Secretariat of the European Commission, were invited by Ms. Isabelle BERRO-AMADEÏ, Government Counsellor-Minister of External Relations and Cooperation. The delegates had the opportunity to meet with the highest authorities of the State and discuss matters with the Princely Government, representatives of institutional entities, and actors from the private sector.
The visit's primary goal was to ensure that member state delegates understand the validity of Monaco's requests, aiming to preserve its specificities within the framework of these negotiations. For this reason, an exhaustive presentation of the demographic, geographic, social, and economic realities of the Principality was offered.
At the end of the three-day visit, Ms. BERRO-AMADEÏ remarked, "The Principality of Monaco is, in many ways, a country whose specificities can be challenging to understand without experiencing them firsthand. I hope that our interlocutors have been able to discover the reality of Monaco, a harmonious blend of tradition and modernity, where the institutions are founded on the fundamental values of rule of law, democracy, and protection of individual freedoms. These values, we share with the European Union."
To conclude an intense program, the representatives of the member states and European institutions were received by the Minister of State who emphasized that "The Princely Government places great importance on this visit, which will enable the relay of important political messages about the stakes of the current negotiations for the Principality to the institutions and capitals of Europe."
Note: This trip, initially scheduled for March 2023, was cancelled due to social movements in the neighboring country and was rescheduled to these new dates.
The EU Council's working group on the European Free Trade Association is one of the Council's 150 working groups and is composed of diplomats representing the 27 EU member states, the Council's Secretariat, and the Commission. Among other tasks, it is charged with monitoring the negotiations of the Association Agreement between Monaco and the EU for the Council. This group prepares the works and decisions that will be submitted for the Council's final approval. In this regard, the Commission reports to the EFTA group on the progress of the negotiations. Once the negotiations are completed, this working group will make a recommendation to the Council to sign the agreement. Subsequently, it is still the Council that will decide to conclude the Agreement, after consulting the European Parliament.