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Morocco bodies criticise ‘unfair restrictions’ imposed on obtaining visa to France

February 16, 2023 at 11:21 am

Schengen visas image [schengenvisainfo]

Nine Moroccan bodies have criticised the “unfair procedure” imposed by France on Moroccans who apply for visas.

The French government’s decision to reduce by 50 per cent the number of Schengen visas granted to Moroccans since September 2021 “has not been changed”, the groups said.

The bodies are the Prometheus Institute for Democracy and Human Rights, the Moroccan Forum for Young Journalists, the Moroccan League for the Defence of Human Rights, the Compass Movement for Citizenship Initiatives, the Adalah Association for the Right to a Fair Trial, the Mediator for Democracy and Human Rights, the Youth Association for Youth, Young Women for Democracy, the Modernity and Democratic Forum and the National Commission for Youth and Democracy.

The bodies pointed out on Tuesday that despite statements by the French Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs, Catherine Colonna, regarding the resumption of full cooperation with Morocco on 15 December, “the results were disappointing”.

Over the past few weeks France has increased the pool of those refused visas to include ministers, former officials, doctors and engineers who intend to participate in scientific conferences, as well as artists, businessmen, students and citizens who used to visit France for many years and had long-term visas.

In September 2021, the French government decided to “tighten the conditions for granting an entry visa” for applicants from the three Maghreb countries; Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco, and reduced the annual number allowed by 30 per cent for Tunisians and 50 per cent each for Algerians and Moroccans.

However, about a year after those measures, the restrictions imposed on Tunisians and Algerians were eased, while they became more severe for Moroccans, which sparked mounting anger and calls for a boycott of French products.

READ: France applies visa restrictions to former Morocco ministers