Macron Confronts Right-Wing Attempts to Harm Relations With Algeria
The French National Assembly objected to dropping the 1968 agreement with Algeria, in an expected decision and in line with the desire of President Emmanuel Macron, who pre-empted the voting session by attacking the right, which is trying to restrict France’s foreign policy and shackle it with legislation that exceeds its constitutional powers.
According to what was reported by Agence France-Presse, on Thursday, French MPs voted 151 votes against cancelling the agreement, compared to 114 MPs to cancel it, which is the proposal presented by the “Les Republicains” party to its founder, former French president, Nicolas Sarkozy.
The MPs of the centrist Renaissance party, the party of the current French president, Emmanuel Macron, voted “No” to the proposal. During the discussion, one of its MPs Hugette Tiegna said that reviewing the agreement between the two countries was “necessary,” but “unilaterally cancelling an agreement would be like “attacking a neighbouring and friendly country.”
While all the left-wing parties voted against the proposal, MP Sabrina Sebaihi, from the “Europe Ecology- The Greens” party, explained to the “Republicans”, who are the godfathers of the draft; “You want to please the most extreme section of your electorate”.
For her part, Soumaya Bourouha, an MP of the Communist Party, said that the immigration agreement between Algeria and France “is not a privilege and is not something unnatural, but rather the result of a common history of more than a century.”
As for Bastien Lachaud, MP for “La France Insoumise” (unbowed France) party, he said that the draft presented by the “Republicans” party to cancel the 1968 migration agreement with Algeria; “you’d think you were reading a far-right leaflet,”.
Before the voting session, Macron raised his veto in the face of the right-wing parties demanding a review of the migration agreement signed between Algeria and Paris in 1968. This came during his meeting in the Council of Ministers last Wednesday, which witnessed an uprising by the resident of the Elysée Palace against the “Republicans” party that proposed to overthrow the Franco-Algeria Accords.
The leaks that emerged from the French Cabinet meeting were shocking to those who bet on striking the 1968 agreement, and according to what was reported by the private French channel BFMTV, Macron expressed extreme anger at his former Prime Minister, Edouard Philippe, who rode the right-wing wave and demands a review of the agreement, hoping to win the votes of right-wing voters in anticipation of his candidacy in the upcoming French presidential elections.
Edouard Philippe had an interview with L’Express magazine last summer, during which he announced that he would join those calling for a review of dropping the agreement, even unilaterally, even if the Algerian party refuses. This was a shock to President Macron’s entourage, who had chosen Edouard Philippe during his first presidential term to lead his government.
The Elysée’s strict position on those calling for a review of the migration agreement with Algeria came on the eve of the French National Assembly (the lower chamber of Parliament) discussing the proposal to cancel the 1968 agreement, which was presented by the “Republicans” bloc, which has 58 MPs out of 577.
According to the same sources, the first man in the French state expressed his anger at the attempt of right-wing political circles to hijack issues related to foreign relations by undermining his project for rapprochement with Algeria, by dropping the 1968 agreement, a thing which Algeria refused, because this agreement had already been emptied of its content throughout the four amendments that were made to it, the last of which was in 2011.
Among the privileges that this agreement provides to Algerian nationals, exclusive of their counterparts in the Maghreb or the former French colonies of the African continent, is the possibility of requesting a permit to reside in France for 10 years after three years of residence, compared to only five years for other nationalities, noting that the year 2022 witnessed the granting of 600,000 residence permits to Algerian nationals, according to legal and administrative laws with verification of every Algerian citizen’s file and right.
Macron asked in this regard; “I did not understand that France’s foreign policy was defined by Parliament”, in direct response to the draft of the right-wing LR party, which is led by one of the loyalists of the former French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, who had visited the Kingdom of Morocco before months ago, and who called upon French President Macron from the court of the Royal Palace in Rabat, to correct his relations with the Alawite regime and recognize the alleged sovereignty of the Moroccan regime over the occupied Western Sahara lands.
Macron went so far as to criticize the right-wing party’s draft, even to the point of sarcasm, as reported by BFMTV that he said in the Council of Ministers: ” This is funny. On immigration, the same people who refused to broaden the scope of the referendum now want to change the Constitution”.