France-Morocco Border Dispute: A Closer Look

“France-Morocco, dangerous lesions” (3/3). The “visa crisis” in 2021 has strongly contributed to tensions between Paris and Rabat. While history has forged a relationship of particular intensity between them, their interests diverge more and more often.

“It was decided just a month ago, secretly, quietly. Emmanuel Macron has decided to halve the number of visas issued for Algeria and Morocco and a reduction of 30% for Tunisia, this is unprecedented. » On September 21, 2021, it was 8 a.m. when the head of Europe 1’s political service, Louis de Raguenel, revealed on air the warning shot given by France to the Maghreb countries.

“While immigration is at the forefront of the political scene, the Head of State knows it, he does not have much time left before the presidential election. And if he wants to correct his migratory record, he has no other choice but to make radical decisions,” continues the journalist, formerly of the far-right weekly Current Values.

An hour later, on the same channel, Gabriel Attal, then government spokesperson, came to defend a “drastic decision, made necessary by the fact that these countries do not agree to take back these nationals that we do not want and that we cannot keep in France”. “There was a dialogue, there were threats and today we are putting these threats into action,” he continues. The reason: the low rate of issuance of “consular passes” by countries of origin. This travel document allows a person without a passport to be returned to their country. Essential for carrying out an expulsion, it establishes the nationality of the foreigner in an irregular situation.

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Two years have passed since this French decision, and the file of what is now commonly called the “visa crisis” is still not closed. Between Morocco and France, in particular, the episode completed the deterioration of a dense bilateral relationship but punctuated by upheavals, particularly regarding Western Sahara, a territory over which Morocco claims its sovereignty and which Paris is reluctant to recognize.

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