Morocco considers France´s decision to tighten visa requirements for its citizens "unjustified"

Morocco considered France's decision to tighten the conditions for granting travel visas to its citizens "unjustified", according to what Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita said on Tuesday.

Bourita said during a press conference in Rabat that Morocco "has taken note of this decision, which we consider unjustified." He stressed that Rabat will "follow up the matter closely with the French authorities", after Paris decided to tighten the conditions for granting visas to citizens of Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia in response to the "refusal" of the three countries to issue the necessary consular permits to return immigrants from their citizens, according to what the French government spokesman Gabriel Attal announced. Tuesday.

The Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs confirmed that the Kingdom's consular services in France "have granted, during the last eight months alone, nearly 400 transit permits to persons who were in an illegal situation."

But what hinders the matter, in his opinion, is an issue that France must solve, as Morocco imposes the necessity of undergoing a test to detect Covid-19 “BCR” to enter its territory, “and what France should say is that these people refuse to take this test because it is optional there and not mandatory.”

"There are people who have traffic permits, but they could not return because they did not undergo this test," he added.
On the other hand, the French Minister of the Interior confirmed that Morocco granted 138 such permits between January and July, which represents a "cooperation rate" that does not exceed 25 percent of the total cases concerned.

A French government spokesman described the tightening of visa procedures for citizens of the three Maghreb countries as "unprecedented, but it has become necessary because these countries do not accept the return of nationals we do not want and we cannot keep in France."

He stressed that the positions of the three countries "slow down the effectiveness" of deportations from French territory when decisions are issued in this regard.

The Moroccan Foreign Minister clarified that “as much as Morocco considers the travel visa arrangement a sovereign decision, the more it considers its justifications inappropriate,” noting that the kingdom “will follow up the matter closely with the French authorities.”

So far, there has been no comment on the French decision from the Algerian and Tunisian sides.

The French move provoked reactions in some Moroccan media on Tuesday, as the news website Code described it as a "slap to Moroccans," while the "Panorapost" website considered that France "has ended up using the visa weapon unsuccessfully."

On the street, there were also surprising reactions to the decision. University student Mohamed, 28, told AFP, "This is a surprising decision and a means of pressure on Morocco (...) but France should not forget that there are many students and tourists who come to it, and they will now face a big problem." .

In turn, the 45-year-old employee, Kamal, considered the new French measures “a restriction on Moroccans and the freedom to travel and roam as agreed upon internationally (...), especially since Morocco and France share brotherly relations and historical friendship.”

This year, France granted 18,579 visas to enter its territory for Moroccan citizens out of 24,191 applications, which is a lower number compared to 2019 when it granted 346,000 visas out of 420,000 applications.

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