People of France, the hour is grave. I address myself to you, with an open heart, to share an historic decision, a proposition of our Government to once again launch France on the path of progress, to rebuild our economy and our nation too often weakened.
By Diego Filiu | Translated by Jacques Rosenberg | Image Manipulation by Jacquelyn Rudich
From Ukraine to the Caucasus, the Middle East to Catalonia, the shifting of borders is in fashion. Several methods apply: foreign armies on the one hand, referenda on the other; secret infiltrations over there, negotiations over here. The goal is the same: revitalize a slowing nation through a common struggle.
It is France’s time, now more than ever, to join the movement. For our country needs a unifying project, capable of gathering its people around ideals that have always made its splendor. France must learn to go forward, to seize its future, to pursue its historic mission of progress. France needs more than a unifying project. It needs new economic resources and investment opportunities. Union, the spirit of victory and gilded crowns: all this, Monaco can provide.
This is not wishful thinking or lowly joking. This is a realistic project with a bright future. As we suspect, Monaco is entirely dependent on France for survival. Water, electricity, and medicine… all vital resources are provided to the Principality by our beloved country. Even direct economic contributions! If one dives into the reports of our glorious National Assembly, one would find, written black on white, that “France finances Monaco’s budget.”
Indeed, while the residents of Monaco are not especially known for their difficulty to balance their budgets, France guarantees them almost one million Francs every year. This is more than what France puts aside for sheltering disadvantaged citizens. However, this is the construction price of the magnificent Grimaldi Forum, in the heart of the Principality. So France gives Monaco, the wealthiest country in the world in terms of living standards, one Grimaldi Forum per year. There is thus no more doubt. “Monaco enriches itself thanks to France.”
But critics would say this is contrary to international law. No democracy that respects itself would dare annex a peaceful, sovereign, internationally recognized neighbor. But of what do we speak? What law? For when we raise the question of illegality, Monaco is an expert in the subject. Le Rocher has long contributed to the tax evasion of various mafias. Here, too, our tireless deputies’ National Assembly reports are quite useful.
I declare loud and clear that Monaco is a fiscal paradise. Yes, the banks in Monaco are subject to the Banque de France’s scrutiny. But banking regulation is far from being guaranteed, as the common expression “professional secret” is tossed around even in the most brazen cases.
Such an annexation would be contrary to the principle of self-determination of the people, however. But of what people are we speaking? Can we truly speak of a distinct identity in a country where there are more Frenchmen than Monegasques? Can we truly develop a national consciousness in two square kilometers? Can we truly affirm belonging to a country, which to stay independent, gave up the towns of Menton and Roquebrune-Cap-Martin in 1861? What is the point of the nation of Monaco, besides that of fiscal paradise and center of indecent expenditures?
No language, no people, no currency, no common history. And not even coherent institutions, for the Monegasque Minister of the State, the executive power holder second only to the Prince, has always been a French citizen – by requirement first, then by necessity after 2002 for lack of a Monegasque citizen worthy of the position!
No army either, nor a diplomatic corps – the two embassies in Monaco fly French and Italian flags. No defined national project. No nation: a lowly screen to justify spending free of taxation.
My critics would claim this to be impossible. To declare all this would be to trample on the nature of contemporary international relations. Who, indeed, would still dare question the de facto annexation of Crimea by Russia? Commentators maybe, the media as well, but certainly not political actors. Who would dare force Israel back into its legitimate, pre-1967 borders? Certainly not those who would be able to do so in the international arena. Of course, criticism would rain down on our government. But would this be that different from the current situation? And then, after a couple years, the facts will have been established, legality turned into legitimacy, and France will have been strengthened.
Finally, some will question the basis of the operation, as the relations between France and Monaco have long been radiant. False. The latest act of provocation to date by the arrogant Monegasques? The Prince Albert II’s proposition to me, Head of the French State, to take part in the “Ice Bucket Challenge.” Indignant. Disrespectful. Disgusting. Although a normal President, I cannot possibly tolerate such an outrage.
My fellow citizens, I declare to you: nothing can justify the persistence of this absurd situation.
My fellow citizens, a golden Eden is at our door, maintained by our public funds and refusing to abolish the bankers’ “professional secret.”
My fellow citizens, the existence of the Principality of Monaco is an insult to your hard work for the progress of our country.
My fellow citizens, the existence of the Principality of Monaco is a humiliation to the ideals of our Revolution, to our Republic, and to our Nation.
My fellow citizens, this very evening, the existence of the Principality of Monaco will be no more.
Vive la République, et vive la France !
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