Talks with EU start to run out of time, as small states confer

A note of urgency has been sounded by the political leaders of the three small states currently in talks with the European Union over their future status and trading relationships.

Last week, the head of the Government of the Principality of Andorra and Nicola Renzi, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Political Affairs and Justice of the Republic of San Marino, were in Monaco to confer with Serge Telle, Minister of State, and Gilles Tonelli, Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Talks that started more than five years ago are due to finish by next year, and there can be no doubt about the importance of their outcome. Monaco and the other small states are anxious to continue to have access to a common market of 500 million people for the most basic of economic reasons. However, it is vitally important that the European Union does not see fit to impose unacceptable constraints on the freedoms and specific nature of the three small states, of which Monaco is undoubtedly the smallest, Monaco’s government leaders have repeatedly said.

European Union flag

The three small states, while sharing their concerns and their strategies, also realise that relations with the European Union need to be settled and codifed. “Nothing can be done around isolation and thinking that it will last forever, we all agree,” Antoni Martí Petit said in Monaco in 2017.

Perhaps the major sticking point for Monaco is free movement of people and business, given the special protection afforded at present to enterprises registered in the Principality.