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Visit by H.S.H. the Prince to Belgium

On 19 and 20 February 2019, H.S.H. Prince Albert II travelled to Belgium for a diplomatic, environmental and cultural visit.

In Brussels, on Tuesday 19 February in the late morning, Prince Albert went to the Berlaymont building to meet Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, and his staff in the presence of HE Ambassador Sophie Thévenoux, Head of the Monaco Mission to the European Union, Gilles Tonelli, Councillor-Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, and Anne-Marie Boisbouvier, Advisor in HSH the Prince’s Cabinet.

The Sovereign Prince and President Juncker discussed advances in the negotiations, begun in March 2015, on the Association Agreement between the Principality and the European Union which would offer Monaco a stable institutional framework for relations with European institutions and member States. It would also open possibilities of cooperation for teaching, research and other shared areas.

On this occasion, H.S.H. the Prince recalled the extreme importance He grants the signature of a well-balanced Association Agreement that respects the main principles of the European Union while preserving Monaco’s vital interests, thereby guaranteeing the Principality’s lasting legitimacy.

The Sovereign Prince and President Juncker expressed their satisfaction at the progress of these negotiations to date. President Juncker emphasised the Union’s ambition in entering into negotiations on this agreement by June 2019, including specific provisions taking Monaco’s singularities into account. This ambition provides a strong political signal for respecting Monegasque identity.
If such an agreement were to be achieved in June, that would represent a crucial step towards drafting a final Association Agreement.

Later in the day, at a reception organised by the Monegasque Embassy in Belgium, H.S.H. the Prince also met members of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and the main personalities on the European Commission and the Council of the European Union. In His speech, the Sovereign Prince stated in particular: “I would like to believe that we will succeed together in drawing up an Association Agreement that respects the interests of all parties. It is my ardent wish that taking into consideration the specificities of Monaco will lay the groundwork for an association with the European Union, whose motto is ‘united in diversity.’

In the early morning of 19 February, in the context of His actions in favour of environmental issues, the Sovereign Prince participated in a high-level Conference on Climate Change and Ocean Conservation at Egmont Palace.

H.S.H. the Prince addressed the Conference at the Opening Ceremony, during which other speakers included Charles Michel, Belgian Prime Minister, Marie-Christine Marghem, Minister in charge of the Belgian Federal Institute for Energy, Environment and Sustainable Development, and Philippe de Backer, Minister of the Digital Agenda, Postal Services and Telecom, in charge of Administrative Simplification, Social Fraud, Privacy and the North Sea.

In His speech, Prince Albert warned in particular of the dangers of gradual depletion of terrestrial resources and the growing importance of oceans in this context. He recalled that mobilisation on all parts (governments, NGOs, scientists, associations, local communities, etc.) would help place the Oceans at the centre of a collective challenge supporting the values of solidarity and responsibility.

Jointly organised by the Ministers Marie-Christine Marghem and Philippe de Backer, this conference addressed three main themes: Climate change and its impact on ocean biodiversity, Conciliating oceans energy with marine conservation and Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from ships. The many personalities participating included: Brune Poirson, Secretary of State to the Minister for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition, Karmenu Vella, European Commissioner in charge of Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, and Denis Allemand, Director of the Scientific Centre of Monaco.

On that same day, H.S.H. the Prince also participated in the 2019 CDP Europe Awards at the Brussels Town Hall, where He was greeted by the city’s mayor, Philippe Close.
At this event, the Sovereign recalled His personal commitment for over 25 years to defending the Environment, the actions He has been conducting for over 10 years through His Foundation and His Government’s commitment to implementing sustainable solutions to promote the energy transition, sustainable mobility and renewable forms of energy.
CDP (formerly, Carbon Disclosure Project) is an organisation that analyses the performance of corporations in three key areas — protection of the climate, sustainable water management and the fight against deforestation — and evaluates them on a scale from A to D.

The next day, Tuesday 20 February, H.S.H. Prince Albert II visited the Hergé Museum in Ottignies-Louvain-la-Neuve before attending a master class by French cellist Gautier Capuçon and a singing master class at the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel in Waterloo.
The Sovereign Prince then visited the Folon Foundation, a museum founded in 2000 by Jean-Michel Folon in a farm at Château de la Hulpe.
This visit illustrates the persistence of the strong ties between this Belgian artist and the Principality of Monaco, where the sculptor’s poetic works still grace the Monegasque landscape. The Folon Foundation recently opened L’Atelier Folon to the public on Quai Antoine-Ier on the Port of Monaco, where he had his studio for over 20 years.

Visit by H.S.H. the Prince to Belgium