Dear fellow citizens,
First, I would like to express my warmest, most heartfelt wishes for your happiness and success just a few hours before the start of a new year.
For each and every one of you, I hope 2009 will be a year of personal joy and fulfilment.
From the bottom of my heart, I wish for each of you, your families and friends, a year of excellent health, professional achievement and joy of living surrounded by the affection of your loved ones.
In today's complex, uncertain international context, I also wish for Monaco to pursue its harmonious development in all stability and harmony.
As you know, the financial crisis of these past months has grown into a global economic crisis. This crisis, which is probably only beginning, is profound and will spare no one.
It challenges many of the economic fundamentals on which our lives are based.
This crisis, my dear compatriots, results from an economy that has gone awry and lost all sense of reality and the excesses of a system that has too often discounted human beings.
To overcome it, we will have to redouble our efforts and get down to work immediately to maintain our economic activity while displaying our inventiveness, to prevent the causes of the crisis from ever reoccurring.
This means striving to achieve a world more concerned with the future, less absorbed in a search for instant profit whatever the price.
This is a daunting challenge. We cannot shirk our duty. More than ever, I realize my own responsibility. Faced with this situation, I must ensure Monaco's future and make decisions that will affect us for years to come.
I will do so without forgetting the constant concern for preserving the interests of the Monegasque people. Those of today and those of tomorrow. Your interests and those of your children. This is my priority every day.
In this context, I found it preferable to stop the consultation process for the offshore urbanization project.
This was a tough decision, but in so doing, I followed my conscience, convinced that this was the surest, most responsible choice for Monaco. It was my duty.
This decision should in no way affect the Principality's morale. A large number of projects are underway that will support economic activity, while others will be launched. To face the crisis, our country can count on our energy, our merits and our values.
These qualities, this dynamism and these values are yours, first and foremost.
In times of crisis and difficulty, as in happy prosperous times, Monegasques have always shown their adaptive capacity. This is what we will continue to do, I am certain, in the years to come.
With confidence, we must face the major deadlines awaiting the world. Our country is healthy. We are attached to maintaining our exceptional quality of life and we enjoy a level of security envied by many. Our economy is sound.
Every day, I fight to help preserve these assets, so Monegasque society can remain active and retain its solidarity.
Every day, I fight to help preserve the dynamism that affords the surest way of controlling our fate.
This entails respect for the policy conducted by my government and that should be heeded by all.
This also entails the actions I engage in through my travels. Monaco is a voice that can be heard in international circles.
Since I have frequent opportunities to meet other Heads of State, I can assure you that our principles, commitment and reaction capacity receive recognition and respect.
At a time when a country's influence and reputation often have more weight than its size, Monaco enjoys a unique position that enables us to defend a world we believe in, a world based on values of equity and balance, a respectful responsible world.
I am thinking in particular of environmental preservation, for me a requirement on a daily basis.
Today, we know that saving our planet is not only a moral duty, but also a fabulous source of creativity and economic development.
This is why I will very soon be visiting the Antarctic, at the invitation of scientists from several countries.
In the wake of my Arctic expedition in 2006, this journey will highlight Monaco's commitment to our planet.
It will enable me to measure directly, on site, the researchers' exceptional work.
These stays in Antarctica will also strengthen Monaco's ties with the scientific community, further asserting our commitment to research.
Dear fellow citizens, Dear residents,
As the horizon darkens, while, at the same time, immense prospects for development emerge, I would like to assure you that I am by your side every single day.
And alongside all of those who contribute to the Principality's prosperity, to strengthen Monaco's role and position to keep on defending your interests.
On this festive evening, I feel very close to you and can assure you that, in 2009, I will do my utmost for Monaco to remain a land that is peaceful, happy, prosperous and generous.
Happy New Year!