If the official voice is reassuring, the facts are a little more troubling. Foreign Office spokeswoman Anne-Claire Legendre said at a press briefing on Thursday 26 January that “France is not in a crisis with Morocco. On the contrary, we are in an exclusive partnership that we intend to develop.”emphasizing the desire of Paris to make these bilateral relations “within 10-20 years” coming. On the other side of the Mediterranean, however, the Moroccan political class and the media close to power do not seem to be on the same wavelength.
Macron’s upcoming visit to Morocco questioned
The case stems from a resolution adopted by a large majority of votes in the European Parliament last week. The text was concerned about the deteriorating press freedom situation in Morocco, and elected officials said that “deeply concerned” through “allegations that Moroccan authorities have bribed members of the European Parliament.” In fact, the text was very poorly received by Rabat.
Main Defendant: France, a former colonial power accused of “orchestra” anti-Moroccan campaign in Brussels. “Behind the scenes of this decision lies a country that we considered a reliable friend and partner, but the smell of gas made her lose her head”, says Ahmed Tuizi, MP for the majority, regarding the rapprochement between Paris and Algiers, Rabat’s regional rival. In response, the press secretary of the Quai d’Orsay assured that “Parliament exercises its powers independently”adding that “for its part, France maintains a relationship of deep friendship with Morocco, with which it discusses all matters, including questions of human rights.”
On the occasion of Katerina Colonna’s visit, both countries seemed to have eased tensions and declared their desire to renew their partnership. But in recent days there has been a proliferation of press articles, often scathing, that reported a further deterioration in Franco-Moroccan relations and questioned the impending arrival of the French president.
“Clumsiness, oversights and misunderstandings multiply between Paris and Rabat”wrote a journal earlier in the week Young Africa. “Faced with what they consider to be manifestations of hostility from France, the Moroccan authorities no longer hide that it will be difficult to return to normal life.”