While everything was going better between France and Algeria, the exfiltration of Amira Bouraoui from Tunis to Paris once again weakened relations between the two countries.
Did the Amira Bouraoui affair put an end to the (re)new idyll between France and Algeria? Emmanuel Macron went to Algeria at the end of last summer. He had left North Africa after having jointly signed with Abdelmadjid Tebboune a declaration to revive relations between the two countries. Since then, it's mad love between Algiers and Paris. Or rather it was.
Because since the exfiltration of the activist Amira Bouraoui from Tunisia to France, with the help of the French consular authorities according to Algiers, is this the end of the good understanding between Algiers and Paris? Three weeks after the events, Emmanuel Macron returned to this episode, calling it a "firedamp blow".
“There was a controversy over the return to France of a Franco-Algerian from Tunisia, with also a lot of things that were told and a speech that was built”, nuanced President Macron. A posture that shows the embarrassment of the head of state, who did not even dare to pronounce the name of Amira Bouraoui.
Macron plays it low profile
But on the side of Algeria, we denounced the intervention of “diplomatic, consular and security personnel of the French State” during this exfiltration. The Algerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs deplored an “unacceptable” situation which is “great damage” for relations between France and Algeria.
Macron's position is clear: it is a question of accusing in order to better defend oneself. “I think there are a lot of people who have an interest in what we have been doing for years now with Algeria not succeeding,” he explained, as if to ensure that everything is fine. for the best with Algiers and that we would try - without knowing who - to sabotage Franco-Algerian relations.
A speech above ground, because the situation is more delicate than Macron would have us believe: on February 8, Algeria denounced the "clandestine and illegal" exfiltration of Bouraoui and decided to recall its ambassador to France. "for consultation". Three weeks later, the tension has gone up a notch.
Algiers has just decided to suspend the issuance of consular passes in France. What does that mean ? The Algerian consulate in France indicates that "the laissez-passer is a travel document issued exceptionally to any unregistered Algerian national, to enable him to return to Algeria, in the event of loss, theft or expiry of his passport. ". In fact, the suspension of consular cooperation between the two countries risks above all paralyzing deportations to the borders.
What about Tebboune's visit to France in May?
However, it is precisely the lack of cooperation on the part of Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia, deplored by Paris, which had caused a crisis between France and the North African countries in recent months. In 2021, Paris had restricted the issuance of Schengen visas in Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia, to encourage them to better control illegal immigration. A decision on which France finally returned.
Algeria was accused of having, in 2021, granted only about thirty consular passes while the French Ministry of the Interior claimed to have issued 7 obligations to leave the territory (OQTF) to Algerian nationals. Tebboune then accused Paris of having lied and replied that “there have never been 735 irregular migrants of Algerian nationality. France has never mentioned more than 7 cases”.
Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune has planned to travel to France in May for a state visit. By then, will relations between Paris and Algiers have calmed down?