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French President Emmanuel Macron has promised to continue with the policy of limiting visas for citizens of the Maghreb countries, if the Maghreb countries do not cooperate with his country regarding the return of its nationals living illegally in France.

Macron spoke about the migration file during a televised interview on Thursday, adding that the crisis in Paris’ relations with Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria, regarding the issue of visas, is due to its lack of cooperation on the issue of deportation of his nationals, who revealed: We launched a strong dialogue with these countries, and we told them: “If you do not take back people who have been asked to leave French soil, we will grant the of visas limited,” a measure adopted by Paris.

Since the end of last year, the French authorities have reduced the number of “Schengen” visas granted to citizens of the Maghreb, by up to half for Moroccans and Algerians, and by 30 percent for Tunisians, justifying their move with which they describe as “limited”.

In his interview with France 2, the French president highlighted the “success of the visa policy”, noting that it had helped his country’s authorities send 3,000 people back to their countries in two years, and called for the continuation of the same path confirmed, saying: “We will intensify the deportations to include 100 percent of all illegal and disruptive persons.

European countries, especially France, are facing problems with the return of irregular migrants to Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia, with these countries rejecting the procedures adopted in deportations, prompting Macron to threaten to freeze development aid directed to them to link to immigration policies, as another pressure card in addition to restricting visas.

The French government considers that the positions of the three countries “delay the effectiveness of deportations from French soil when decisions in this regard are issued, by not issuing the necessary consular permits to get their nationals back.

While the French authorities restored the normal process in issuing visas to Tunisian citizens, according to a joint statement at the beginning of last September, Paris promised Algeria to increase the number of accepted applications, during the last visit of President Emmanuel Macron . decisions for Morocco.

“french mistakes”

Director of the Rabat Center for Political and Strategic Studies, Khaled Al-Sharqawi Al-Sammouni, believes that the problem of reducing visas is not primarily related to the consular procedures for deportations, but rather to “political reasons, in light of of the divergent views between Morocco and France on a number of issues, stressing that Rabat has always cooperated with regard to the deportation of irregular migrants.

In a statement to Al-Hurra, the Moroccan expert points out that the problem at the level of deportations is related to unaccompanied minors, because it poses many problems for the Moroccan authorities, such as finding the identity of the child and the location of his family to determine. and other procedures which must be seized before his extradition is accepted.

In an earlier reaction to the French move to reduce visas, Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita said the decision was “unjustified for a number of reasons, including that Morocco has always dealt with the issue of immigration from the logic of responsibility,” stressing that “the kingdom will discuss the issue with Paris.”
More than a year after the French decision took effect, the talks between the two countries do not seem to have yielded anything new, as Moroccan-French relations have been going through a “diplomatic cold” for months due to the issue of visas and other files.

In this regard, Cherkaoui says that the current crisis is caused by “Macron’s policies and the mistakes of the French government” in the management of a number of issues, including immigration and visas, noting that “the reduction of visas is unacceptable for a country that has strong, fraternal and strategic relations with Rabat.”

However, the same speaker, on the other hand, stresses that the current tension is nothing more than a “summer passing cloud”, given that Rabat and Paris relations are “strong and rooted in history and share common interests”, which excludes that differences between the two countries will develop.

“Promises and collusion”

In Algeria, despite the promises of French officials during their recent visits to review the issue of reducing visas granted to Algerians, the decision is still in force, at a time when demands are rising that the government must push the French authorities to reverse its move. affecting Algerian citizens.

Professor of Political Science at the University of Algiers, Mohamed Si Bashir, deplores the continuation of the decision from the French side, noting that visa applicants are not only those who want to immigrate and settle in France, but that there are those who seeks to obtain a visa for treatment or spend administrative or economic purposes, and those who want to visit his family, and other reasons.

The Algerian university emphasizes that the promises of the French authorities to solve the problem are not embodied on the ground, and rejects French claims that its country does not cooperate in issuing consular permits to immigrants who want to deport France.

As for whether the continuation of the “visa crisis” will affect the smooth relations between Paris and Algeria recently, Si Bashir rules out this matter and points out that the ties between the two countries are governed by economic and strategic interests, more than the migration issue .

For his part, the political analyst, Ismail Maaraf, believes that the Algerian government is “complicit” in the visa restriction file, noting that his country “was not serious in asking the French authorities to cancel the decision. “

In a statement to Al-Hurra, the Algerian analyst says that if his country’s authorities had the desire to end the file, “I would have imposed it on France, which needs gas and energy in light of its great economic crisis,” and added in the same context: “The French authorities understood that Algeria does not want a solution to the visa file for it.” It continues to impose its policies on the citizens.

It is worth noting that the Algerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned the French ambassador to Algeria to protest against Paris’ decision to reduce the number of visas granted to Algerian citizens, after its issuance last year.

The Algerian foreign ministry issued an official protest, one day after Paris announced the tightening of visa requirements for citizens of Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, describing the decision as “unilateral by the French government and will disrupt the smooth movement of Algerians citizens who wish to travel to France.”

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