In a statement released Wednesday, the Algerian Foreign Ministry said that Ambassador François Gouyette had been summoned “to notify him of a formal protest (…) following the unilateral decision of the French government”.
The press release added that “this decision was taken without prior consultation with the Algerian party, which calls into question its reasons and its antecedents”.
The French government’s plan was announced Tuesday in response to North African governments’ refusal to take back undocumented migrants sent home by French authorities.
“We are going to reduce the number of visas very significantly,” Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said on Wednesday in Paris.
The number of visas issued for Algeria and Morocco will be reduced by 50 percent, while visas granted to Tunisian nationals will be reduced by two-thirds, he added.
The minister said the measure was taken because the three countries refused to take back some of their own nationals, who were expelled from France because they had committed crimes, had “radicalized” or had failed. residence permit.
“As long as you do not take back your nationals, we will not accept your nationals,” Darmanin said in an interview with French channel BFMTV.
The minister stressed that this had nothing to do with the French presidential election scheduled for next April.
Migration has become a key issue in conservative and far-right camps in the run-up to the election campaign.
Far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen on Tuesday supported the visa reduction with reservations, but suggested that President Emmanuel Macron’s government had waited too long to act.
Le Pen was Macron’s main rival in the 2017 election and is seen as his main opponent.
“For a long time, a very long time, a very long time, I have called for measures to be taken to force certain countries to respect international law,” she said, citing Algeria and Tunisia. “I am happy that the President of the Republic heard me. I find it a bit late.
Moroccan, Tunisian reaction
The Moroccan Foreign Minister on Tuesday described the French decision as “unjustified”.
Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita said his country had issued 400 consular documents to Moroccans expelled from France, but the number was limited as many of them refused to be tested for the coronavirus, which is necessary to return to Morocco.
It is “the problem of France, which must face it”, declared Bourita during a press conference in Rabat.
He indicated that Morocco is striving to seek “the necessary balance between facilitating the movement of people, whether students, businessmen and those who wish to benefit from medical services, and fight against illegal immigration ”.
Tunisia has adopted a more conciliatory public position. President Kais Saied’s office said: “We are one of the countries that cooperate in this area and we have excellent relations with France.