ALGIERS, ALGERIA – French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday reached an agreement with his Algerian counterpart to tackle illegal immigration while ensuring more flexible ways for people from the North African country to enter France legally. said to have reached
Macron’s comments on Friday came during a three-day visit to Algeria aimed at revitalizing ties between the two countries after a major diplomatic crisis erupted last year over visa issues.
France’s Macron addresses visa issue during Algeria trip
France’s decision to reduce the number of visas issued to people in North Africa, including Algeria, has increased tensions.
The two countries resumed cooperation in December.
Macron told reporters in Algiers that he had discussed “sensitive” issues with President Abdelmadjid Teboun at a meeting and dinner at the presidential palace late the night before. “We share the same will” to implement measures to combat illegal immigration and human trafficking, Macron said. This would include sending people illegally in France back to Algeria “more efficiently,” he said.
France wants a “more flexible approach” when issuing visas to dual nationals of France and Algeria, families of artists, athletes and entrepreneurs, he added.
Asked whether he had discussed human rights issues with Tebboune, Mr Macron said he “discussed everything very frankly”, without giving details.
Human rights activists have criticized Algeria’s government system for criminalizing dissidents and denying freedom of expression.
President Macron said France wants to strengthen its economic partnership with Algeria. The country is an important partner in supplying gas to the European continent, a position reinforced by the war in Ukraine.
France depends on Algeria for around 8% of its gas imports. No new contracts were expected to be signed during the visit. On Friday morning, President Macron visited Algeria’s St. Eugene Christian and Jewish Cemetery to pay tribute to the French who died in Algeria’s war for independence.
Macron, the first French president born after the end of the war in 1962, pledged to tackle the injustices of the colonial era, a country that had been occupied by France for his 132 years.
On Thursday, Macron and Tebboune agreed to form a joint commission of historians to explore the past, from the beginning of French colonization in 1830 to Algeria’s independence.
Macron was scheduled to meet again with Tebboune on Friday to discuss peace and stability in the region. He was also due to go to the Grand Mosque in Algiers later in the day before heading to Oran, the country’s second largest city.