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June 19, 2008

First official visit to Belgium by HSH Prince Albert II

A warm welcome and reinforced cooperation

 Picture : First official visit to Belgium by HSH Prince Albert II

HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco was greeted at the airport by HRH Prince Philippe on His arrival in Brussels.

DHis Serene Highness went to the Castle of Laeken where Their Majesties King Albert II and Queen Paola and Their family invited Him to a private lunch that took place in a very convivial atmosphere.

He then went to the Egmont Palace for a working meeting with the Belgian Prime Minister Yves Leterme, the Belgian Foreign Minister Karel de Gucht and members of both delegations. The Monegasque delegation included HE Jean Pastorelli, Ambassador, Government Counsellor for Foreign Relations, Paul Masseron, Government Counsellor for the Department of the Interior, Gilles Tonelli, Government Counsellor for Finance and Economic Affairs, Georges Lisimachio, Head of Cabinet of HSH the Prince et HE José Badia, Ambassador of Monaco to Belgium.D

This discussion led to evoking in particular the two countries' environmental policy and their respective policies of aid to emerging countries. The Belgian Prime Minister expressed his satisfaction at Monaco's participation in the Mediterranean Union project.

DIn the early afternoon, at the Federal Parliament, HSH Prince Albert II met the Presidents of the House of Representatives and the Senate. He then visited the House and Senate hemicycles. Following a fruitful cordial exchange in the Senate lounges, He received a medal from the Presidents.

HSH the Reigning Prince participated in a ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, where He meditated after laying a wreath. The Chairman of the Comité de la Flamme then offered His Serene Highness a sword to rekindle the Eternal Flame.D

At the end of the day, a reception was held at the Embassy of Monaco in honour of HSH Prince Albert II in the presence of many personalities.

That evening, He participated in a dinner organized by the International Polar Foundation on climatology and research in Antarctica in the presence of many scientists.

For the second day of the official visit to Belgium, HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco went to Ostend, accompanied by Prince Philippe of Belgium, to participate in the ceremony commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the twinning of the two cities.

In the morning, the two Princes attended a religious ceremony presided over by Monsignor Bernard Barsi, Archbishop of Monaco, and the Bishop of Bruges, in the church at Mariakerke, in which there is a chapel dedicated to Saint Devota.

After participating in a reception at the Town Hall, Prince Albert II unveiled a bust of Princess Grace of Monaco on Place de Monaco, commemorating the visit there by His parents in 1958.

After lunch offered by the local authorities, the Princes visited an exhibition on Georges Vantongerloo, Ensor and Permeke, pioneers of contemporary art.

The day continued at the Electrawinds bioenergy-electricity plant where new clean energy technologies were presented.

In the evening, HSH the Prince attended a performance by the Ballets de Monte-Carlo at the Casino of Ostend, enthusiastically acclaimed by the very large audience. The show was followed by a reception offered by the Mayor of Monaco.

On Thursday 19 June, HSH the Reigning Prince pursued His official trip to Liege accompanied by Prince Philippe. They visited Spacebel, a software engineering firm specialized in processing of satellite data.

The two Princes then participated in a reception held in Their honour at the Town Hall of Liege, followed by lunch at the Palace of the Prince-Bishops in the presence of many ministerial and local personalities.

The Reigning Prince then visited the campus of Spa where research is underway on the development of clean engines: hybrid, electric, fuel cell or natural gas. He discovered the Spa-Francorchamps automobile race track where He met drivers and mechanics.

In the evening, HSH the Reigning Prince talked about His Foundation to members of the Harvard Club of Belgium at the Castle of the Princes de Mérode in Westerloo.

DPrince Albert II was particularly touched by the very warm welcome He received from the large crowds present at each stage in this trip.

The exchanges set up with Belgian authorities and the persons in charge of the various entities visited will help reinforce cooperation between the two countries as well as mutual esteem and friendship between the Monegasque people and the Belgian people.



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