Overlooking the Mediterranean Sea and surrounded by the French department of the Alpes-Maritimes, the Principality of Monaco is one of the smallest states in the world. It constitutes a kind of political and economic enclave, as well as of course geographical, of France, a country with which there is also a customs and monetary union and which does not fail to profit from its proximity to the tiny but active Principality. Governed for over seven centuries by the Grimaldi family, the Principality of Monaco enjoys a solid economy that exploits the proceeds of tourism, (especially in the seventies and eighties it was a favorite destination for elite tourism), light industry (developed after World War II) and growth of the financial and banking sector, favored by tax breaks and banking secrecy laws which have allowed the influx of large amounts of capital from abroad.
The Principality of Monaco is a hereditary constitutional monarchy. According to the Constitution of December 17, 1962, legislative power rests with the prince (who is head of state and still holds wide powers) and the National Council, elected for 5 years by universal suffrage. The executive power it is exercised, under the authority of the prince, by the minister of state, chosen from among candidates proposed by France. The judicial system refers to French law and is based on the activity of a Supreme Court. The military defense of the Principality, which does not have its own army, is the prerogative of France. Education, free and compulsory from 6 to 16 years of age, is organized on the model of the French one. According to andyeducation, students wishing to continue their studies can enroll in high school (lasting seven years) while higher education takes place in French universities and colleges.
TERRITORY: PHYSICAL AND HUMAN GEOGRAPHY
Located between the extreme southern reaches of the Maritime Alps and the Mediterranean, the Monegasque territory occupies a section of the bay limited by the heads of Ail and Martin. From a morphological point of view, it is characterized by a rocky promontory (65 m high) and a hilly area behind it. The Principality is made up of four city centers merged into a single urban agglomeration: Monaco, which extends over the promontory and includes the historic center, including the Palazzo dei Principi; La Condamine, at the bottom of a small bay, which constitutes the business area and is home to over half of the entire population; Monte-Carlo, where the famous Casino and large hotels are located; Fontvieille, which represents the industrial area. The climate is Mediterranean, with mild, rainy winters and hot, dry summers (10 ° C in January and 23 ° C in July). The average population density (15,400 residents / km²) is among the highest in the world; this phenomenon is due to the flourishing economy and the favorable tax legislation that attracts a large number of foreigners: in addition to the Monegasque community, in fact, the number of residents of French, Italian, US and English origin is considerable.
Already a splendid “retreat” or place to stay for small international elites, Monaco experienced its golden age at the end of the century. XIX, which was followed by a period of economic reconversion (in 1998, GDP was US $ 814 million). The tourism sector, while maintaining its importance, has acquired mass characteristics, becoming proportionately less profitable and consequently losing the function of the only backbone of the Monegasque economy, to the advantage of other industrial and financial activities. More than benevolent tax facilitations (including the lack of direct taxes for residents) have now placed Monaco in the circle of international high finance, with a consequent influx of capital from abroad and the installation of various banking institutions and industrial complexes. offshore. A crisis in Franco-Monegasque relations (after some friction, in 1962, for fiscal and customs reasons) broke out in the late nineties following accusations by the French government of a will by the Principality to restrict powers and the ability of French customs agents to intervene. A dispute has also been pending since 1993 following the hypotheses, formulated by the French magistrates, of money laundering from illegal activities by some Monegasque banks. A black period for the Principality that culminated with the censorship of the OECD, in 2000, as a “tax haven”: since then the country has not issued any anti-money laundering regulations. International economic power is also the Societé des Bains de Mer (in which the government largely participates) which controls the tourist activity and is the owner of most of the hotels, the Casino, the Opera House and the most elegant clubs. The panorama of industry is varied, located above all in Fontvieille and in the port area, which includes chemical, pharmaceutical, mechanical, textile and clothing, polygraphic, precision equipment, glass and ceramic, electrical and electronic. A very modest role is played by fishing and agriculture. Substantial income also comes to the State from the activities of the Casino (owned by it since 1967), from philatelic broadcasts and from concessions concerning the local radio and television broadcaster. The Principality is part of the French road and rail network.