Government reacts to Nice taxi protest plan

The Monaco government says it is disappointed Nice taxi drivers plan to stage a protest on the Thursday of the Grand Prix weekend as talks continue between Monaco and the Prefecture of the Alpes-Maritimes.

Monaco says they are protecting local professionals, France says they are being unfairly restricted and discriminated against. This is where the stand-off between taxi drivers on both sides of the border has been sitting.

To clear up the situation before it gets blown completely out of control, the government of the Principality alongside the French Embassy in Monaco and the Prefecture of the Alpes-Maritimes have been in talks to find a balance between French expectations and the preservation of legitimate interests in Monaco.

It all began with taxi drivers from the Côte d’Azur issuing complaints about difficulties they were having entering Monaco.

“We have to declare ourselves when we go to Monegasque territory, we have to pay to go to Monegasque territory, we have to have quotas, and now a seasonality on the vignettes, so there are a lot of things that are not acceptable,” Fabrice Cavallera, President of the Nice taxi union told France 3.

On the other side, taxi drivers in the Principality feel like the French drivers are encroaching on their turf, taking fares that should be reserved for local drivers.

It’s a tense situation, especially in this run up to the busy summer season, the first in two years.

The Nice taxi union has filed a demonstration notice with the Prefecture, calling for a protest on Thursday 26thMay, coinciding with the start of the Monaco Grand Prix.

In response, the Monaco government has said they’re open to discussions to find middle ground, as demonstrated by talks on 13th May between Prince Albert II and Nice’s long time Mayor Christian Estrosi.

“The Prince’s Government takes note of the declarations of the Côte d’Azur VTC Committee and the French Federation of Provincial Taxis and invites them to favour the path of consultation and dialogue,” it said in statement. “The Prince’s Government could only regret that a promising start to the tourist season in Monaco, as on the whole of the Côte d’Azur, is compromised by protest movements as we are all emerging from two years of unprecedented health crisis to which an international conflict in Europe is added.”

Whilst both sides are saying all the right words, there’s no clear picture of what kind of compromises and solutions will be made in order to satisfy both sides.