Prince Albert appoints new head of EU negotations

Isabelle Costa, currently an advisor in the Prince’s cabinet, has been appointed High Commissioner for European Affairs. She will oversee negotiations between the Principality and the European Union.  

Since 18th March 2015, Monaco has been officially engaged in negotiations with the European Union (EU) that aim to reach an equitable agreement allowing Monaco to participate as fully as possible in the EU’s internal market whilst ensuring respect for the Principality’s vital and separate interests.  

The person now in charge of these talks for the Principality is the new High Commissioner for European Affairs, Isabelle Costa, under the direct authority of Minister of State Pierre Dartout. Her job will be, in addition to dialogues with the EU, to oversee diplomatic services.  

She will step into the role previously held by Gilles Tonelli.

Isabelle Costa has been appointed High Commissioner for European Affairs in Monaco. Photo source: LinkedIn

A graduate of Sciences Po Aix, the College of Europe and the National School of Administration, Costa has held various positions in the Monegasque diplomatic corps, followed by a stint at the General Inspectorate of Administration, before being appointed Deputy Secretary General of the Government in charge of the Europe Cell in 2016. 

Monaco’s affiliation with the EU is marked by common values, such as basic human rights, the rule of law and environmental concerns, but no formal agreement is in place securing the roles each side plays with the other.   

In June 2022, the Council of the European Union, under France’s presidency, noted that the negotiations were set to enter into a decisive phase, and said that it was looking forward to further substantial progress, including on politically sensitive issues. Costa will be instrumental in these discussions bearing fruit.  


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Photo source: Monaco Life


Photos: Princess Charlene and twins thrill crowds at Sainte Devote celebrations

In Prince Albert II’s absence, Princess Charlene stepped into the leading role for the traditional Sainte Devote celebrations alongside her children Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella.

The Princely family – minus the Prince who is under quarantine with Covid – kicked off Thursday evening’s Sainte Devote festivities with the annual arrival of the boat, representing the one that brought the body of Monaco’s patron saint to its shores.  

A procession followed to bring the boat to the courtyard in front of the Sainte Devote Chapel, where the Princess, dressed smartly in a black jumper with trousers and a long grey coat, and eight-year-old twins Hereditary Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella, used long red and white candles – the colours of the Principality’s flag – to set the boat alight as tradition dictates.


The spectacle, always something to experience, was made all the more special by seeing it through the eyes of the twins, who looked on in wonder, periodically hugging each other in delight and waving goodbye to the burning vessel.   

All eyes then turned to the skies as a magnificent eight-minute show featuring a hundred drones lit up the night with images related to the event.  

The celebrations continue on Friday with a high mass held in the Saint’s honour, followed by a church and Princely family processional around the Rock.  

Later in the day, from 4pm to 530pm, the Department of Cultural Affairs is organising an organ concert by Silvano Rodi, resident organist at the Church of Sainte Devote, in collaboration with the Diocese of Monaco.  

All are welcome, but space is limited.  



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Photos credit: Eric Mathon, Palais Princier de Monaco


Roca Team prevail in offensive festival against Milan

A defensively porous but offensively spectacular AS Monaco Basketball beat Euroleague’s bottom side Milan (101-88) on Thursday to keep pace with the leaders and bounce back following consecutive European defeats.  

Against his former side, James ran proceedings in the opening phases, registering an unreplied eight-point streak to give Monaco an early lead. Whilst the Roca Team were nearly in full flow offensively, they lacked the same intensity in defence, and couldn’t stop bleeding points, allowing ample room for Milan to cause harm from outside the key, which they duly did. 

Elie Okobo’s playmaking and shooting efficiency kept the scoreboard ticking, as every player that entered onto the court contributed, including debutant Chima Moneke, who took just seconds to make his mark with a T2 while attracting the foul. 

By half-time, both sides had pierced the 50-point mark, and a mammoth scoreline was set to be recorded. Attacks continued to reign in the second-half, with Milan quickly erasing Monaco’s seven-point half-time lead, restoring parity midway through the third quarter (70-70). 

However, the Roca Team then hit the accelerator once more. James kicked things off with a T3, which lifted the crowd. Donta Hall and Okobo, who was impressive throughout, then combined; the former finishing with one of his signature dunks. Alpha Diallo then hit on the break to begin to take the game away from the Italian side (80-72). 

Photo by Monaco Life

The American then struck early in the final quarter with another T3 to deflate a Milan side that were starting to feel their way back into the game. The Roca Team finally found their defensive bite in the final quarter and began to make the decisive break, Jordan Loyd registering a T3 that killed the game as a contest (90-78). 

As both sides tired, the efficiency and intensity notably dropped, and whilst the Roca Team didn’t make the 114-points that they were on course to reach at half-time, they did nonetheless breach the 100-point mark. Against the Euroleague’s bottom side, Sasa Obradovic’s men were run closer than perhaps they expected, but the result was ultimately secured (101-88). 

Post-match Sasa Obradovic said that he was happy to have provided a spectacle for the fans.

“Everyone who came here enjoyed the basketball, this is what they wanted to see,” he told Monaco Life, continuing, “Everyone contributed. I’m satisfied with all the players that played. It was a collective win. Milan haven’t played well recently, but that wasn’t the case tonight. They scored lots of hard shots, but we found a way to control the game, especially in the fourth quarter. It is always good to protect the home court.”


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Main photo by AS Monaco Basket

List of French strikers grows as port and power workers called to picket

The CGT trade union and Sud Rail are the latest to call on their workers to take to the streets next week for the nationwide strikes against pension reforms. 

Those participating in the planned strikes set for 31st January and spilling into 1st February is growing. CGT, the union covering port, power, refinery and petrol distribution workers, has joined the roster as have Sud Rail, a railway workers union.  

The inclusion of these two powerful unions could see the country grind to a halt next Tuesday and Wednesday, with possible strike actions continuing into next month.  

“Our federations are asking railway workers to strike en masse on 31st January, and to hold a meeting on 31st January to decide whether to intensify their action through two consecutive days of strikes on 7th and 8th February,” the two unions said in a joint statement.  

The potential disruptions caused by striking fuel distributors has people racing to the pumps, reminiscent of last October when protests prompted petrol shortages and cuts all over France.  

Authorities are asking people not to worry as the short duration is unlikely to cause the same kind of widespread disruption as last autumn, but they do warn electricity production may suffer intermittently. 

CGT says an oil distribution depot in northern France is already shut down, with 80% of workers ready to march. According to trade union sources, oil imports are being obstructed in some French ports.  

The port strikes are scheduled to last 24 hours.  

In addition to the sectors named above, schools, transport and civil service operations are also thought to be involved, with the result being an almost total shut down of normal life.  

The pension reform legislation, which will be presented to parliament on Monday, includes passages that would end special pension rights of certain workers, including those in the electricity generation field. Other points of contention include raising the retirement age from 62 to 64 by 2030.  



Get ready: French unions plan widespread protests over pension reform

Further pension reform strikes planned for 31st January


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Photo source: Unsplash