A feeling of “humiliation”: the term is on everyone’s lips. In Morocco, testimonies are flowing on social networks to challenge French diplomacy in the face of the growing number of refusals of visa applications suffered by nationals of the kingdom.
“I am deprived of the right to travel, which is nevertheless fundamental”, explains Sofiane, who himself shared his anger on Twitter. Father of two French girls, he lived fifteen years in France and wanted to go there with his children during them summer holidays. This is the fourth time he has applied for a short-term Schengen visa, and the first time it has been refused.
Reason given: he would not have correctly justified the reason for his trip. Sofiane, however, presented her hotel reservation to the consulate, as well as that of her plane ticket. Despite a first appeal to the Casablanca consulate, a second to the French embassy in Morocco and a last to the Nantes visa refusal commission, Sofiane had to give up her trip, and her two minor daughters to see their families in France. “States sometimes make diplomatic calculations that directly impact their own citizens, like my children”, he explains bitterly.
Morocco-France: visas still impossible to obtain?
The difficulty in obtaining a visa has increased since September 2021, when the French government decided to halve the number of sesames granted to Algeria and Morocco, and by 30% to Tunisia. This measure was intended to put pressure on them governments of the three countries to grant more consular laissez-passer to their nationals subject to deportation proceedings.
“It’s a drastic decision, it’s an unprecedented decision, but it’s a decision made necessary by the fact that these countries do not agree to take back nationals that we do not want and cannot keep in France” , had then explained the former spokesperson for the French government Gabriel Attal at the microphone of Europe 1. During his visit to Morocco in October 2020, the French Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin had mentioned the case of the unaccompanied Moroccan minors present on French territory.
Ten months after its implementation, the French policy on visas in the Maghreb is still in force, even if its effectiveness has been challenged by the Ministry of the Interior itself. Putting pressure on by limiting the number of visas issued, “it doesn’t always work as well as that”, admitted Gérald Darmanin on the set of BFM TV on 26 July.