France and Morocco relations: France is the only EU powerhouse whose relations with the North African country of Morocco have been marked by tensions. Other major EU powers have of late tried to woo Morocco for their geopolitical priorities as well as resources.
However, France and Morocco relations have suffered over the issue of visas. Although France & Morocco re-established full diplomatic relations last year, now France has once again backstabbed Morocco which has put it in a very embarrassing situation.
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France’s dual game with Morocco
France and Morocco re-established full diplomatic relations in December, last year, following months of tension over Visas. The row was sparked when France halved its Visa quote for Moroccans in retaliation for the Kingdom’s refusal to repatriate citizens living as irregular migrants in France.
Furthermore, after re-establishing full diplomatic relations with Morocco, France promised to work towards enhancing cooperation. However, little did Moroccans know that this great display of goodwill would not last too long.
Recently, many Moroccan observers and analysts were taken aback by the European Parliament’s adoption of a resolution on human rights in Morocco. The French-instigated resolution was adopted on 18 January, and accused Morocco of “harassing and intimidating journalists, human rights defenders, and diaspora activities.”
This resolution awakened Moroccans of France’s duplicity and further indicates that while other EU powers like Germany & Spain mended fences with Morocco, France is still mired in its appeasement policy towards Algeria, something which has also forced it to remain vague and ambiguous on the Western Sahara dispute.
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Huge embarrassment for France
After being heavily criticized for its double standards, cynicism, and hostility towards Morocco whose only misdeed has been, perhaps, to choose to have an independent foreign policy, France is now exercising damage control in Rabat.
The French Ambassador to Rabat tried to distance his country from the move that angered Moroccan authorities. Further, he also voiced hope to see Paris and Morocco cooperate closely on energy.
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However, Moroccan politicians have found it extremely difficult to make sense of France’s actions. The arguments or excuses of the French Ambassador are not convincing for Moroccan politicians.
Morocco has described it as interference of the European Parliament in Morocco’s judiciary and a violation of Morocco’s sovereignty. The North African country has even accused the French “deep state” of being behind the EU Parliament resolution. However, despite strong condemnation by the Moroccan authorities, the Moroccan Parliament has announced that it would reconsider its relations with its European counterpart.
Thus, France’s misadventure with Morocco has caused it much embarrassment and put the nation in a very uncomfortable position. Considering the rising anti-French sentiments across Africa, France’s Moroccan blunder will only add fuel to the fire.
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